Running into the night: races outrun the scorching sun as the track meet extends to more than ten hours

Caleb Lee ‘23, School Staff

With the full rays of the sun beating down on the tracks of Whitmore Lake High School, the Greenhills varsity track and field team joined 23 other schools at the Whitmore Lake Invitational on April 23. The sun and the heat came back just in time to sunburn the runners as soon as they took their steps out of their tent, onto the track’s hard rubber. But the runners were out on the field longer than the sun.

Adrian Bardwell ’23 placed ninth in the small 100-meter men’s preliminary race, running the 100 meters in 12.61 seconds. Adrian then advanced to finals, placing seventh, running 100 meters in 12.58 seconds. Liam Dutta ’24 and Ishan Leahy ’25 also ran in the preliminaries, running 100 meters in 12.88 and 14.26 seconds respectively, with Ishan breaking a personal record. Adrian placed 12th in the long jump, breaking a personal record.

Captain Justin Yu ’22 said he felt very good about the meet. He ran 400 meters in 59.15 seconds, along with Caeden Couch ’22, who ran 400 meters with a time of 1:03.45, breaking a personal record. Justin also ran the 4×200 men’s relay race along with Drew Fletcher ’23, Matthew Prabhu ’23, and Bardwell, placing tenth with a time of 1:41.58.

Dutta, Prabhu, and Fletcher ran in the 200 meters preliminary, finishing all within a second of each other.

“I could’ve done better,” said Fletcher, “but I think I did fine.

Fletcher placed 29th in the preliminary, running 200 meters in 26.77 seconds. Prabhu placed 24th, getting a time of 26.40 seconds, and Dutta Placed 21st, getting a time of 26.06 seconds.

In the men’s 800-meter finals, Jibreel Rehman ’24, Howei Ding ’25, and Joseph Yoon ’24 all finished within 15 seconds of each other. Rehman had a time of 2:35.43, Ding with a time of 2:41.96, and Joseph, who broke his season record, got a time of 2:51.32.

Lincoln Cha ’24 ran the men’s 1600 meters with a time of 5:12.63.

“Lincoln is strong,” said Fletcher. “Fastest person on the team”

Since Cha joined in freshman year, he has been a star member of the track team.

“He gets us a lot of points,” Prabhu said. “We would do a lot worse if he weren’t here”.

Cha also ran the men’s 3200 meters, finishing with a time of 11:31.83, along with Mason Stranaham ’25 and Jack Faulkner ’24, placing 13:06.16 and 13:44.40 respectively. Cha’s last race was the men’s 4×100 relay, placing 16th with a time of 55.17 seconds. His teammates were Noah Mo ’25, Leahy, and Peder Whitridge ’25. The men’s 4×800 relay was run by Yoon, Rehman, Ding, and Stranahan, finishing at 10:48.07. For the men’s 300 meter hurdles, the sunburnt Tiller finished at a time of 48.95 seconds. Jason Shen ‘25 also competed, finishing at a time of 55.24 seconds.

The discus throw had En-lih Wang ’24 break a personal best, throwing 53’07.00”. Nico Dettling ’25 and Ethan Wang ’25 also competed, throwing 51’00.50” and 50’04.00” respectively.

For the men’s high jump Tiller and Couch both got scores of exactly 5’00.00. This may have been due to a malfunction in the time taking camera, which will be touched upon later in the article.

For the long jump Tiller competed again, gaining a score of 17’07.50”, earning him 15th place. Dutta, who also competed, placed 35th, with a score of 14’02.00”.

The girls team also placed very well during this track meet, with some personal records as well. Captain Sonya Zacharek ’22 Girl’s , Anya Bery ’23, Vic Cunningham ’24, Ella Song ’25, Ava Kittendorf ’24, Anika Bery ’24, Chiney Anwunah ’23, Lilith Moellering ’24, Sarah Horan ’23, Tove Vivekanand ’25, Eleana Zhuang ’25, Navya Ashok ’24, Anjana Kanakamedala ’25, and Layla Kouatli ’25 were all the members of the girls team that attended.

Zacharek competed in the girl’s 400-meters finals, finishing in 13th at 1:10.59, the girl’s 4×400 relay finals with Zhuang, Anbya Bery, and Ashok, finishing in ninth at 4:57.25, and the girl’s 4×800 relay finals with Anika Bery, Kanakamedala, and Kittendorf, finishing in 8th at 11:50.52. Anya also competed in the girl’s 400 meters, finishing at 1:16.41 in 24th place.

Cunningham ran 100 and 200 meters, finishing 10th in both and 14.97 seconds and 30.81 seconds respectively. She also competed in the girl’s 4×100 relays, finishing in 14th at 1:00.59, with Moellering, Horan, and Vivekannard. Moellering also threw a 1kg Discus, landing her 19th at a score of 59’03.50. Horan competed in the long jump, getting 19th place at a score of exactly 11’00, a personal record. Kouatli also broke a personal record, getting 28th in the 1kg Discus, with a score of 52’10.00.

“Ten hours and fifteen minutes,” said Fletcher. “That’s how long we were out there”

Despite how much Fletcher loves track, he wasn’t too happy about the time stretching long past the expected end time. Fletcher wasn’t just unhappy with the time though.

“The finish line camera didn’t work for some part of the race,” said Fletcher.

The camera failed to accurately time Tiller’s finish, but he was still happy with how he placed.

“I didn’t really mind it much because I wasn’t making it to finals anyways, but I ran a 29.99 according to my time, but I finished third in my heat,” said Raj. “I also ran a :57 in my 4x400m leg, so it kinda just shows you that they messed up big time. I feel like it made a difference for some people but not really for our team.”

The cameras weren’t the only thing that was having trouble that day.

“The meet organization was bad so it took long, but it went pretty good,” said Couch.

The team spirits still stayed up throughout the entire ten hour meet though. Yu and Zacharek as senior team captains kept up spirits both day and night.

“Justin’s a great captain,” said Fletcher. “He keeps the team running and has a great spirit.”

Yu has been running track since he joined the school in middle school. He went on to take a brief hiatus in freshman year, exploring swimming, but in the end Yu went back to track (though he still swims in off season) during his sophomore year.

“I had a really good time for four days and then the pandemic started and shut everything down,” said Yu. “Junior year was my first full track season and it was a lot of fun,”

This is where Yu started to get familiar with track as a sport and culture, and became friendly with his teammates. And when Yu eventually began running for track as a senior, he was chosen as team captain.

“Being a captain feels good. I’ve always wanted to be the captain of a sport I love and it’s something that I am really proud of,” said Yu. “I know the team looks up to me so it’s very important that I am always encouraging and easy to talk to in case they have any issues. This year was great. I’m sad to leave, but I had a great time.”