Girls indoor successfully repeat history at Queens Champs

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On Monday, February 17, the Townsend Harris girls indoor track team competed in the Queens Borough Championships at the Armory in Washington Heights. They competed in an array of events against athletes from all over Queens. Like last year, the girls sprinted, jumped, and relay raced their way to a first place finish.

The evening began with the varsity 4 X 200 meter relay race. In this event, a team comprised of sophomore Toni Alexander, senior captain Esther Jou, and seniors Chloe Chai and Cydney Downes finished ninth out of 38 with a time of 1:59. Another team of freshmen Jillissa Drayton and Oluwafisay Olowoyo, along with sophomores Faheema Syahbal and Yun Ping Tseng, finished with a time of 2:05, earning eighteenth place. Two other THHS teams placed 27th and 37th respectively.

The next event was the 3000 meter run in which senior captain Stephanie Loo placed second, with a time of 12:21. Junior Elaine Li and senior Annika Joeng placed fifth and seventh, respectively.

“The 3000 meter run is my favorite event during indoor. It’s the longest event for girls and is a true test of endurance,” said Stephanie, “It was a comfortable race for me and I really had fun running the race.  I felt somewhat weak toward the end of the race, maybe the last 800 meters or so, because I don’t think I ate enough prior to running.  I was seeded third, so I was able to pass quite a few girls while running.”

Next, sophomore Ivy Lam led her team in the varsity 55 meter dash. She placed 37th out of 155 with a time of 8.59 seconds, setting a new personal record. Additionally, she set a personal record of 10.57 seconds in the varsity 55 meter hurdles.

“I haven’t run a 55 meter dash since last year, but I felt prepared nonetheless. I wasn’t scared at all, until I reached the starting line. That’s when the anxiety kicked in. But once the gun went off, I felt amazing. I loved the feeling of passing all those people in my heat,” Ivy said, pleased with her performance.

In the varsity 1000 meter run, sophomores Yasmin Ally and Joanna Huo placed fourth and seventh, respectively. Sophomore Hailey Lam and junior Natalia Ramirez each set personal records. In the varsity 600 meter run, junior Sarah Iqbal placed eleventh and set a personal record of 1:51. Junior Nina Leeds finished shortly thereafter in twelfth place. In the varsity 1500 meter run, Stephanie placed sixth with a time of 5:44. Freshman Noreen Mohsin placed eighth out of 17, setting a personal record of 5:52.

Townsend Harris dominated in the 1500 meter race walk, led by senior captain Sophia Mahin. She finished first with a time of 8:07 and was followed by junior Karen Su, who placed second out of 25 with a time of 8:13. Senior Tahsin Akanda and freshman Dulce Cervantes placed third and fourth respectively, each setting personal records.

Despite pain from a hip injury, Karen ran and was happy with her performance, saying, “I made sure I came in second and therefore contributed eight points to my team. It’s all about contributing to the team above all else.”

The next event was the 300 meter dash, where Toni placed 26 out of 130 runners, finishing in 48.20 seconds. She was followed by Faheema and sophomore Joyee Mok, who each set personal records.

The girls also participated in a variety of field events. Nina and Toni placed fifth and sixth respectively in the varsity high jump. In the varsity long jump, Cydney placed 17th out of 26 athletes. Senior Sarah Han set a personal record in the varsity shot put event, throwing a distance of 23 feet, 2.30 inches. In the varsity pole vault, sophomore Kellie Zestanakis placed second, setting a personal record of eight feet.  Additionally, Esther and Yun Ping placed third and seventh respectively in the varsity triple jump.

“It was very nerve-wracking for me, especially since it was Queens Champs. I think I did pretty well in my jumps, and after every jump, my captain gave me advice on how to improve my jump,” Yun Ping said.

The meet concluded with the last two relays, the 4 X 800 meter and 4 X 400 meter relay. In the 4 X 800 meter relay, a team comprised of Yasmin, Joanna, Sarah, and junior Rythika Francis placed second with a time of 10:49. A second team of Stephanie, Ivy, Natalia, and Esther placed fifth out of twelve teams. In the final race, the 4 X 400 meter relay, Jillissa, Chloe, and freshmen Maressa Cumbermack and Brianna Manginelli made up a team that finished seventh out of fifteen with a time of 4:52. Another team composed of Sarah, junior Hannah Jang, sophomore Eunice Baik, and senior Michelle Wagner placed tenth.

“The 4 X 800 relay was the fastest 4 X 800 team I’ve ran with the entire season and it was really fun, although there was a lot of pressure on us to do well. I was also the anchor and that was definitely stressful because I was the one that was going to finish up the race and cross the finish line,” Joanna said.

All in all, the girls felt accomplished with their performance at Queens Championships.

“The team was fantastic!” said Ivy, “The plaque is just a little indicator of how awesome we are.”

City Championships is their next meet, which will be held on Saturday, February 22. Those who qualified to compete at City Championships, Karen, Esther, Stephanie, Sophia, Dulce, Tahsin, Nina, Chloe, sophomore Wendy Liu, and junior Gabriela Kluzinski, expect this victory to motivate them to do well at Cities.

Sophia said, “We really just hope to give it our all and do our best. This will be the last indoor meet for many of us so we just really want to make sure that at the end of the meet, we can truly tell ourselves that we have given it our all.”

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