Written by Maddi Roman |
“If you’re a champion, you have to have it in your heart.” -Chris Evert.
A State Championship is the ultimate dream of any serious athlete. The goal is greater than a simple name on a banner, or an Instagram post of a gold medal. Winning a championship is about honor, earning respect for a sport, and complete satisfaction.This Saturday, February 8th, the Morgan Track Team state qualifiers competed in the 2014 Class S State Championships. Morgan Indoor Track’s hard work beamed throughout Hillhouse on this memorable day.
A standout race on the girls’ side was the 4×8. In this event, each girl runs four laps of the indoor track, which is half the size of an outdoor track. The race equates to the distance of half of a mile. Kate Mozzochi began the race. She held the lead, baton in hand, with beautiful form and long strides. Kate handed off her baton to Courtney Carroll, the next leg of the race. Courtney ran all of her laps with her heart and left all of her energy on the track. Following Courtney was Savannah Skidmore, who ran an impressive four laps that displayed all of her effort. Finally, the baton was handed to the anchor of the race, Kelly Thompson. In previous races throughout the season, the girls 4×8 had been beaten by Coginchaug, who’s secret weapon is a girl named Jessica Drop. Drop is an impressive and talented 800 runner, but this time, Morgan prevailed. Kelly refused to lose the race, and used pure determination to pass Jessica, holding and finishing in second place overall. “It was a big deal for us to beat Coginchaug. That was our main goal, and the fact that we got second is very exciting.” The girls 4×8 deserves an abundance of credit. All four members of the relay ran their fastest times individually, thus resulting in an overall time of 10:11.47. Although their finish was not first place, it is still respectable and a victory in its own terms.
Chase Lemay and Kate Mozzochi are two dedicated hurdlers. Both had second place finishes in the 55m hurdles by a mere matter of milliseconds. Chase qualified for finals in the prelims with a time of 8.33. The finals of the men’s hurdles was an intense race. Chase finished with a time of 8.27, while Keith Wilson of Canton, the first place finisher, received a time of 8.02. Fortunately, Chase is a junior, while Wilson is a senior. Chase can only improve throughout the next year. The girls 55m Hurdles was an even closer race. Kate Mozzochi qualified with a time of 9.05 in the prelims. She placed second in the finals with a time of 8.92, following Kadiejah Stewart of Bloomfield, with a time of 8.78. Kate is a sophomore, while the winner is a senior. Kate has a promising future in the sport of track. Both Kate and Chase are incredible athletes who are deserving of recognition, although they may not be completely satisfied with the results. When asked about their feelings on the two races, Chase responded, “It bugs me that I got second, but it gives me motivation to win next year.” Kate was at a loss for words, “That’s very hard; I can’t put all of my passion into a quote.” It is difficult to be proud when victory is right at one’s finger tips, yet is not quite grasped. The Morgan Track Team is proud of these two promising athletes.
The highlight of the night was the Morgan boys’ Sprint Medley Relay and 4X4 Relay. The Sprint Medley Relay is comprised of Riley Cochrane, Casey Sullivan, Alex Best, and Brian Gendron. The race is 1600m in total, and is divided into two 200m, a 400m, and an 800m. The boys’ team was speculated to win, with a seed time of 3:43.85. The race was incredible to watch; everyone in the entire arena was pressed against the railings and standing on the edge of the track. The relay made a spectacular showing, as our entire team cheered and jumped. The most incredible thing about the race is that Morgan won by an entire straight away (roughly 55m). The team even broke the meet record of 3:41.72 with a time of 3:39.60. I can only imagine the indescribable feeling of crossing the finish line and the realization that a state championship has just been attained. These boys achieved this goal, and then remarkably repeated the achievement an hour later.
Mark Zumpano, Brian Gendron, Casey Sullivan, and Alex Best anxiously awaited the final race: the boys 4×4. Just like the Sprint Medley Relay, our boys 4×4 was seeded first in the conference. Despite three of the four having just run their fastest time in the previous race, they did not show any signs of fatigue. If they were at all tired, it didn’t matter. All four ran with their hearts, not their legs. The relay finished with a time of 3:30.55. It was incredible to see two state championships won within an hour of each other. As Mark Zumpano reflects on the win, he comments, “After all of our hard work this season, it’s an amazing feeling to finally say, ‘we’re State Champions.’ It’s super exciting and is something I will cherish forever.”
Brian Gendron, one of the most dedicated Captains I have ever witnessed, had a lot to say about the victories. “We have trained hard since the first day of the season. We fought to win at every meet, and we went into states with the attitude that the state title was ours to take. All members of both relays ran with their hearts, and did exactly what was needed. Everything came together perfectly in the end, and it is with great honor that I can say, ‘We are State Champions.'”
Coach Underwood could not be happier, as was apparent judging by the huge smile painted across his face at the end of the meet. “It was one of my proudest moments as a Morgan coach. I’m just sorry that everyone at Morgan didn’t experience the moment.”
I take great pride in being a part of Morgan Track.