Track team competes at Lake Mary Invitational


photo by James Lopez

Juniors Alex Watson and Kade Law go jump for jump with each other in the 110 meter hurdles. The boys team ended up finishing 4th overall.

In track, the relay is the only event that you have to rely on your team to win. One mistake by a member of the team and the run could be invalidated. This was no different for the Lake Mary Invitational, where the boys took fourth and the girls took eighth, including a first place from the boys 800 meter relay team and a disqualification for the girls 100 meter relay team after passing the baton out of the exchange zone. This was only the third meet of the season leading toward the state series in April.

The Lake Mary Invitational took place on March 3. The boys were led by first place finishes from senior Miguel Pantojas in the 800m and from his 800m relay team. They were also supported by junior Mike Smith in pole vault and senior Nieken Nguyen in the triple jump. The girls were led by junior Alyssa Morley, who placed second in the 200m and sophomore Arianna Mabiudou–Tchao, who took fourth in discus.

Making progress for the postseason is the big goal in track, and athletes felt that happened at Lake Mary.

“This week we did better than last week…honestly we saw some great runs, vaults and throws all throughout the team,” junior David Erdmann-Dunlap said.

Compared to other meets, the athletes had to approach Lake Mary with different preparation. Track meets usually take place at night, allowing for cool conditions, and athletes put up their best performances. This meet started in the morning and lasted through the afternoon with little to no cloud coverage. Combined with high wind speeds, the weather hurt the athletes.

“The meet being in the day makes things harder honestly. The wind, the sun and the pace of the meet itself made everything worse than the usual night meets,” Erdmann-Dunlap said.

The team itself has plenty of depth, with high numbers of athletes participating in each event and providing substitutes when necessary. 

Smith has become an integral part to getting points for the team, finishing on the podium in every meet this season so far in pole vault. At Lake Mary, Smith placed third with a 11 foot vault. Seniors Aiden Wetzl and Pantojas and juniors Johnathan Leon and Julian Scanlon have been important pieces as well, making up one of the area’s top 800m relay teams as well as individually competing in the 1600 and 800 meters.

The girls may not have as many point getters for the team, but they are a team filled with potential and promising underclassmen. Led by Morley, top sprinters include sophomores Emiaj Jamie and Peyton Farwig, who both finished in the top 15 along with Morley.

“I’m very glad where I am at, considering I podiumed at my first two meets,” Smith said. “I’ve set the bar for myself to clear 13’ this season, and I believe I can pull it off.”

The track team will be split up in their upcoming meets next week with the freshman-sophomore meet at Lake Brantley on Wednesday. The juniors and seniors will be competing at the Highlander classic on Friday at Lake Highland.