Girls Varsity Track Starts with a Bang

Cate Lynch, Writer

Every runner’s worst nightmare for a race is when the forecast says hot and windy. That nightmare combination became a reality on Saturday, May 1 at the Prospect Girls Invitational Track Meet.

The meet was limited to varsity runners only, so Loyola entered focused and knowing that they would need to work hard to place. The biggest competitors were New Trier and Prospect, who are both in the same upcoming sectional meet as Loyola.

Field events started the day off, with senior Sam Mulcrone placing 8th in the triple jump, leaping to a new personal record of 9.82 meters.

“I was really excited, especially since it’s my senior year,” she said. “I want to go out feeling like I left everything out there.”

Loyola’s top pole vaulter is senior Eva Holton, who is also a double threat when it comes to sprinting. She vaulted 8 feet 7 inches, good enough to place 7th amongst some of the state’s top athletes.

Temperatures continued to rise into the high 70s and wind gusts reached past 20mph as the running events began. The 4×800 relay kicked off the races, a highly anticipated event.

The relay was a nail-biter, and the team was in 8th out of 9 places as they neared the first handoff. By the last leg, freshman phenom Morgan Mackie took it home, pulling the team into 3rd with an overall time of 10:04.44.

“It was great to see that we can really contend with some of the best teams out there,” senior Sarah Jay said. She had led off the relay. “We really want to get down to state this year; that’s always the goal.”

In terms of state, junior Shannon Jorash got the closest to a qualifying time in the 300 meter hurdles. With a 2nd place finish and a new personal record of 48.43, she’s less than 2 seconds away from punching her ticket.

“My race last Tuesday wasn’t great, so I totally surprised myself,” Jorash said, out of breath at the finish line. “I’m really happy with how it went today.”

By 2pm, the sun was fully risen, the heat hovered in the 80s, and many were beginning to show signs of sunburn. However, the distance girls were just getting started.

Freshman Morgan Mackie returned after the 4×800 relay as the top seed in the mile race. Her high placement at the sectional cross country meet made her a tough competitor, and she was on every racer and coach’s radar.

Racing smart and drafting behind another runner on her first of four laps, Mackie ran a controlled race. With each lap she pulled away, crossing the line in 1st place with a time of 5:12.35. Her teammate Maeve Norman, a sophomore, came in 5th place, crossed the line at 5:27.39.

Mackie’s seemingly effortless race was harder than it looked, and she noted, “I can’t tell which was worse… the wind or the heat. I’m glad that’s over.”

At the end of the day, every competitor walked away with a smile, a medal, or a sunburn, and Loyola placed 8th overall.

Catch the Ramblers at their next meet at St. Ignatius, this Saturday, May 8.