Highlands High School track team traveled to Hayesville on Wednesday and despite a limited amount of practice time, managed to walk away with several top scores.
The final team results have not been released (tabulated) and Plateau Daily News will keep you posted when that information is available.
Highlands top finishers:
Jesus Damian – shot put
Bailey Schmitt – triple jump and 300 M hurdles
Julia Schmitt – 300 M hurdles
Lawson Shuler – 300 M hurdles
Madi Drummonds – High jump and triple jump
“It has been tough with weather and winter sports going longer in the playoffs to get quality practices in,” said Highlands Head Coach Brett Lamb. “Some of our kids are trying events to find what they are good at. Some returning players know already.”
The day was not without its sacrifice, Abby Olvera strained her hamstring and Patrick Woods chipped a tooth and was bruised up.
“It happened so quickly,” said Olvera. “One second I was fine, and then I felt something in my leg and went down. It hurts just sitting here.”
Olvera added that Athletic Trainer Will Mathiowdis said he believed it was a strain and nothing is torn and she’s hoping to be running the 800 M in a week or two. She took her fall while running the 400 M.
Jeslyn Head plays both soccer and track and said the commitment can be a challenge.
“It’s just a lot with soccer, track, and school,” said Head. “I’m pretty much mentally and physically dead all of the time.”
However, exhaustion didn’t stop Head from competing in the 400 M, discus, and shot put.
“Overall, I think I did better than I thought,” said Head. “We haven’t had much time to practice on technique. It feels good to get it over with.”
Hannah Holt ran in the 4×100 M relay and had was a little anxious before the starting gun.
“When I was up there waiting, I thought, ‘Don’t mess up, don’t get DQ’d,’” said Holt. “Then it was just running. But I felt pretty good. We practiced a little before the race and once or twice yesterday.”
Lane Tingen cleared over 5 feet in the high jump and said he thought the day went well, but they could use some work.
“It went alright, but a little more practice will do me some good,” said Tingen.
Baily Schmitt and Julia Schmitt took first and second places respectively in 300 M hurdles.
“It wasn’t the best, but it was alright,” said Bailey. “I’ve been doing them (hurdles) since I was a freshman. Coach put me in and I got stuck with them.”
Highlands Jeffrey Olvera ran the 200 M, 400 M, and 4×100 M relay testing the waters trying different events.
“I had some first times today,” said Jeffrey. “It was a trial run for me, and I didn’t think I’d do that well.”
Highlands Connor Briggs participated in several events and joined the track team to help strengthen his wrist after it was recently broken. Two of the events he competed in are discus and shot put.
“I did decent today,” said Briggs. “The hardest thing about discus is the release. It’s really difficult to keep it level.”
Lamb said the team did well and he’s optimistic about the season.
“I thought we did well and have a lot of promising athletes that will just get better as we go,” he said.
Highlands High School track next competes at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Cherokee.
Editor’s Note: In conference track meets, the top 8 teams are scored, so the 1st place finisher would get 8 points. Scoring depends on the number of teams that compete in the meet, and the number of athletes competing in each event, and there are several events. It’s not as cut and dry as winning or losing a basketball or soccer game. While this system does not favor smaller schools, track is a sport where players can still make Regionals based on individual merit.