Track team’s significant growth to bring an unparalleled season

The advent of young talent on the team opens up windows of opportunity in competition

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Helen Hunsicker

The sun beats down on the the wide expanse of field. A jet black path of tar and rubber carves through the grass to form an enormous oval. A large pack of middle and high schoolers traverse around this track in a blob shaped group, their various shades of neon athletic wear juxtaposing sharply with the wooded environment. In the midst of it all stands a short but fit man adorned in an all black tracksuit. It’s an unusually hot day for March in Minnesota, but track coach Charlie Cracraft doesn’t seem to mind. As the runners make their way around the track, Cracraft fixes his eyes on a plastic clipboard in his hand, where he jots down the attendance of each athlete. The team is large and he must make sure that he keeps tabs on all the new participants.

Track at the school has been on the rise as of late. Cracraft notes, “We are up to 80 or 85 athletes, boys and girls, in seventh through twelfth grade.” Just a few years ago, the team was only carrying around 60 students, and the team was a member of the smaller 4A section. Now, as a result of this recent influx, they have moved up to 6A.

Coach Cracraft attributes this boost to a number of factors. For one, the team expanded last year to include middle schoolers, and this year there are about forty seventh and eighth graders participating. Additionally, Cracraft says the captains of the team “did some recruiting and got more kids to come out.”

Next, the social allures of track have certainly propelled a few students to join the team. Matthew Sill ‘17, a first year track member says, “I came out because I have a couple of friends [participating] and I wanted to get in shape with them.” Coach Cracraft echoed this sentiment, remarking that “people want to come hang out with their friends and work out with one another.”

The rise in track athletes comes on the back of the team’s considerable successes in past years. Last year, as a member of the 6A section, they finished 6th. In addition to new talent, the team brings back many experienced members, such as Drew Anderson ‘17, who has been on the team since his freshman year. Anderson, who participates in shotput and discus, says “it’s a lot fun. I enjoy coming out here and being with a group of good people.”

As the days grow longer and the spring sports season begins, the track team is gearing up for another exciting year. Under Coach Cracraft, the team has grown to its biggest size in years, thanks to a combination of new athletes and veteran leadership. If the squad’s numbers are any indication to their success, it’s safe to say we can expect big things.