Running towards goals

“Even though people are looking up to me, we are just so close that it doesn’t feel like there is added pressure put on me,” Harris said.

Justin Baer

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A quick jog is something that many Americans do everyday as a strenuous workout; for the girls track and field team, a quick jog is something they do to warm up. A strong work ethic and a willingness to persist towards their goals are key components to a successful season.

For senior Niya Harris and her teammates, those goals are lofty ones.

“(I’m working toward) qualifying for state. I hope to at least get our relays there, so we can have a good time,” Harris said. partnered with strong runners, Harris is a solid spot to qualify for state in the 4×100, 4×200, and 4×400 relay. At the Gary Parker meet, the 4×200 placed fourth and the 4×400 beat the field, taking home first place medals.

As a senior, Harris fulfills a key leadership role on the team, but knowing that everyone works together lessens the burden in her mind. Harris is thankful for the team chemistry.

“Even though people are looking up to me, we are just so close that it doesn’t feel like there is added pressure put on me,” Harris said. “We are all so dependent of each other,” Harris added.

From sprints to distance, runners face many challenges when trying to get to state. Senior distance runner Tessa Valdivia agrees with Harris from a leadership perspective. Valdivia also doesn’t feel the pressure of being a senior.

“There isn’t a lot of pressure; I just kind of run with it,” she said.

In addition to heavy physical training, great mental focus was also important for members of track and field.

“I know that if we try our best, if we mess up or if we mess up our hand off, as long as we are doing our best, (we’re happy),” Harris said.

The ups and downs of a season can take their toll, but, as Valdivia noted, they just run with it.

“Last season we struggled getting our PR and times down,” senior Tessa Valdivia said.

The KU Relays on April 19/20 will be a good measure of where the team is compared to high-quality competition; the girls are excited about continuing to lower times and improve.

Click here for information on the KU Relays.