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Track and field sets high expectations

The blocks jolt from the ground as the runner explodes into a full-scale sprint at the sound of the gun. The heart pumps frantically as muscles twitch and the runner passes his competitors and dashes towards the finish line.

Intense competition, friendships and the eternal glory earned on the playing field create a foundation on which the track and field builds. The fellowship gained through a preseason track dinner brought these athletes closer together as they learned how to better relate with each other as a team.

?We create relationships here, students are buying into it [the track and field program],? Ericlee Gilmore, campus track and field coach, said. ?Determination, commitment, and dedication play a important part in molding this group of athletes closer together and growing together as a team.?

For the 2005 season, girls will dominate the team. Senior Danae Cook, track captain, has participated in track for three years, she feels that the girl?s team will achieve their goals this season.

?I feel really confident with the girls abilities, everyone out there is really dedicated to working hard in their events,? Cook said. ?Everyone is working to improve their scores, personally as well as competitively. This season we are having a lot of fun out there as well as working hard. We are bonding together as a team, but continuing to strive for excellence.?

Track teaches students lessons not only about the sport, but life as well. Gilmore ran 80 laps, or 20 miles, during the three hours of the varsity football game against Mendota, on Oct. 29, 2004. He attributes this achievement due to the accountability others held him too. He plans to instill this same mental attitude in his team.

?At track, students share their goals with their teammates so that others can help keep them accountable,? Gilmore said. ?Varsity letters, personal and team records are some of the goals which these athletes have. Their teammates remind them of their goals and hold them accountable, so that they work a little bit harder and it pays off in the end.?

One of the returning members of the track team is Aliza Ford, ?07, who won the 200-meter woman?s championship in Division V, last year. She reflects on coach Gilmore?s method of inspiration and motivation.

?He?s a great coach, he makes you work harder to challenge yourself to go above and beyond your own expectations,? Ford said. ?Yesterday, when I was running the hills, he made us wear a five pound jacket running up the hill. Instead of running straight up he increased the difficulty of the exercise for me. This helped me achieve the most of the drill.?

With six returning players, this year?s team welcomes many new athletes to its roster. The new athletes have some interesting points of view on their experiences with the team.

?I feel that we aren?t pushed hard enough, sometimes,? Dan Kruse, ?06, said. ?It?s a lot easier than basketball, where there is a clear punishment for slacking. Track is fun for me and for the other people who participate in it.?

Gilmore seems optimistic about this upcoming season. He believes that there will be a lot of surprises in this season and a few records will be broken.

?This team will experience lots of improvements,? Gilmore said. ?It will be fun going against other schools. There will be a lot of surprises. I think we can break about three or four school records.?

In hopes to achieve their high goals this season, Gilmore has enhanced his coaching abilities by increasing his staff. Now each individual event will receive the attention it deserves in a one-on-one atmosphere.

?I think we have a great corps of coaches,? Gilmore said. ?Especially the three coaches who are daily giving instruction to the group, which includes coach Larry Orender, my wife and my self. Also, I have two alumni who participate when available, with Gary Hill to help in drills.?

Track and field will start competition at Coalinga Invitational on Mar. 11. The meet will start at 2 pm.

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