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Hurdler tests physical boundries, personal resolve

While many students go home at three, a few dedicated athletes stay after school to perfect their sprints, jumps and throws in track.

Ericlee Gilmore, track coach, and his co-ed team have dedicated themselves to this sport. Every spring, Gilmore tries his best to pass the love of track to the campus participants.

?I like track because of the vigorous manner of the sport,? Gilmore said. ?Track is a combination of many sports, which allows me to mix different characteristics of others sports into one.?

With their season beginning, track students work to become ready to surpass their opponents.

Some committed students trained over summer and throughout the year to excel in these physical events. David Quenzer, ’07, gained approximately 30 pounds in muscle over the summer.

?I really like track because it challenges you mentally and physically,? Quenzer said. ?Track tests my boundaries and shows what I am capable of. I think there is more bonding in track because it is the only co-ed sport and there are individual and team aspects in it. Aliza Ford comes to the field everyday and does her best whether Mr. Gilmore is watching or not.?

After a winning season in 2006, Aliza Ford, ?07, returns to track, in hope, for an almost identical year. Last season, the girls? track team won the West Sierra League Championship. Ford received an invitation to participate, in 100m hurdles, at West Coast Relays, which is a race between track athletes all throughout the Valley.

?Aliza is a great competitor and she loves to train,? Gilmore said. ?Aliza always asks how she can do better, or what she can do to improve. She is extremely committed and just loves track. I believe that she has a truly God-given talent.?

Ford participates in the 100m dash, 200m dash, 4x100m relay, and her best event, the 100m hurdles.

?I started hurdles freshman year because there was an open space, and through time I grew to love it,? Ford said. ?My dad influenced me to join hurdles because he thought that I may be good at it and benefit from hurdles.?

Not only does Ford find support through the fellow athletes, her family is also supportive. Ford?s siblings, Janae, ?09, and Josiah, ?11, follow in her footsteps to thrive in track. Both Janae and Josiah now partake in track. Janae participates in 100m hurdle shuttle, 4x100m relay and the 300m hurdles.

?My family is always very supportive of me, not only my parents but even grandparents try to come to my meets,? Aliza said. ?On occasion, other relatives come if my meet is near them.?

In their first meet of the year, the campus team participated in the Redcat Relays in Fowler on March 3. Fourteen schools took part in the Redcat Relays, scattered throughout Central California, including Taft and Exeter (Sequoia League).

Aliza placed second in the 100m dash, with a time of 13.5 seconds. Aliza and two teammates, Janae and Quinn Livingston, ?10, also won the 100m hurdle shuttle.

Aliza, Janae, Quinn and Kim Swift, ?08, also placed second in the 4x100m relay with a time of 54.4 seconds. Taft High School beat them with a time of 52.5 seconds.

On Saturday, March 17, the track team will compete at the Selma relays.

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