Masters of the Track

After surviving and advancing past CIF competition at Cerritos College last Friday, four Wolverines earned the right to call themselves track and field masters.

Ben Gaylord ’13, Lizzy Thomas ’14, Alex Florent ’15 and Courtney Corrin ’16 all qualified for the California State Meet at CIF Masters on May 24. On May 31 and June 1, Gaylord, Thomas, Florent and Corrin will to travel to Clovis, Calif. and vie for the title of best in state in their respective events.

“It was a fantastic evening for the program, and they were fantastic performances for the athletes,” Program Head Jonas Koolsbergen said. “[Gaylord, Thomas, Florent and Corrin] really just stuck with the process. They worked hard, got prepared and they were rewarded with super performances.”

Prior to Masters, the last and highest level of CIF competition, the four track and field athletes faced potential elimination in CIF Preliminaries and CIF Finals, where the girls’ team placed third overall in CIF Division III. The Wolverines, however, have continued to persist all the way to the largest stage of the postseason.

The four qualifiers will represent Harvard-Westlake in three field events and one running competition at Buchanan next Friday.

At Cerritos last Friday, Gaylord placed second in the pole-vault by clearing a height of 15 feet, 10 inches, a new personal record.

“The hard mark to get to state was 15-4, so I was really just going there to clear 15-4, not to PR or anything,” Gaylord said. “The PR was just icing on the cake.”

Thomas, the only Wolverine runner, finished seventh in the girls’ 3200 meter with a time of 10:32.43.

Florent, who holds the school record in girls’ high jump, claimed seventh in the event at Masters, leaping 5 feet, 5 inches.

Three-time school record setter Corrin won the girls’ long jump event with a jump of 20 feet, 5.25 inches. The freshman had also qualified to compete in the girls’ triple jump at Masters, but scratched; alternate Efe Agege ’14 took Corrin’s spot in the event, but narrowly missed qualifying for State. Agege took eighth as her triple jump totaled to 37 feet, 3.75 inches.

 

In going up against seasoned competitors from all over California, The freshman standout finds her age and emotions to be her main drawbacks.

 

“I think the challenge will be just being younger and making sure not to get too nervous or too excited,” Corrin said. “I think it’ll be good though because there’s so much competition, and I’m going to have to jump really well to hopefully win. I also want to set a personal record.”

 

While State Preliminaries are set to take place on May 31, the 3200 meter does not hold a preliminary race due to its extensive time length, so Thomas will only compete in State Finals the next day. Gaylord, Florent and Corrin will have to take part in Preliminaries to make it to Finals.

 

 

“It definitely more competitive, it’ll definitely be more nerve-wracking, but it’s still a pole-vault competition,” Gaylord said. “There will still be a bar, and I’ll still have to get over it.”

 

Koolsbergen echoed Gaylord’s sentiments.

 

“State competition isn’t dramatically different. The athletes are still all doing events that they’re used to doing, events that they’re good at doing,” Koolsbergen said. “The hardest part is managing the size of the moment, the brightness of the lights, and the stage of it. They’re very prepared. What sometimes isn’t apparent to people who are not in front of the sport is that the Southern Section which we participate in is the best section in the country. So if you can get out of the Southern Section, you’re ready for just about anything at the high school level.”

over California, The freshman standout finds her age and emotions to be her main drawbacks.

 

“I think the challenge will be just being younger and making sure not to get too nervous or too excited,” Corrin said. “I think it’ll be good though because there’s so much competition, and I’m going to have to jump really well to hopefully win. I also want to set a personal record.”

 

 

Corrin’s personal long jump record is 20 feet, 11 inches, the school record and one inch short of her goal of 21 feet. To calm her nerves, Corrin says she just needs to enjoy the moment.

”I always just think of relaxing and having fun because of course you get anxious, but I do what I love,” Corrin said. “The key to winning is to have fun and do what you normally do, because you can normally do it.

 

While State Preliminaries are set to take place on May 31, the 3200 meter does not hold a preliminary race due to its extensive time length, so Thomas will only compete in State Finals the next day. Gaylord, Florent and Corrin will have to take part in Preliminaries to make it to Finals.

 

“State competition isn’t dramatically different. The athletes are still all doing events that they’re used to doing, events that they’re good at doing,” Koolsbergen said. “The hardest part is managing the size of the moment, the brightness of the lights, and the stage of it. They’re very prepared. What sometimes isn’t apparent to people who are not in front of the sport is that the Southern Section which we participate in is the best section in the country. So if you can get out of the Southern Section, you’re ready for just about anything at the high school level.”

 

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