The Pioneer

Mountaineer views on today's news.

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

A Glimpse into the 2024 Winter Track and Field Team
WOHS Sports Media
The track and field team take a group photo at the 2023 Winter Sports Media day.

In the world of track and field, success is often measured not only in victories on the field but also in the bonds formed between teammates, the resilience to overcome mental challenges, and the dedication to balancing academics with a demanding training schedule. In the 2023 Winter Sports Media press conference interview, The Pioneer spoke West Orange Varsity track and field team: Violet Kohlenstein, Cooper Hardwood, Tia Simmons, Kaia Alcime, Ava Neretic, and Chaas Mckoy. 

Here, we gained insights into their experiences, goals, and the unique dynamics that drives them towards an annual successful season. 

When asked about the future of the team, the athletes express optimism about the potential impact of underclassmen. Head coach, Vince is confident that the team, composed of students from freshman to seniors, is poised for a bright and prosperous future. Coach Vince remarks, “I think we are looking to see what everybody can produce and have a nice, wonderful, bright year [for] everybody.

The conversation then shifts to the preparation required for significant events like the Penn relays and Nationals. Athletes share their approaches to mental preparation, with a focus on energy and staying connected with teammates. 

With the season only being at its midpoint, several members of the team have broken school records and made history. The boy’s 4×400 relay (consisting of Andres Acosta, Cooper Harwood, Lyfe Smith, and Gideon Griffon) set a new school record and ran their way to the #7th spot in the entire country, securing their spot for nationals. 

The girl’s 4×200 relay (consisting of Corbin Raston, Tia Simmons, Kaia Alcime, and Tayla Wilson) finished at 1.45.04 minutes, securing their spot for nationals and running the second-fastest time in school history. 

The use of empowering music and visualization techniques are cited as essential tools to gear up for the challenges on the track.

The sport is acknowledged as a mentally challenging sport. All participants described the importance of maintaining focus, blocking out negativity, and treating each day of practice as a step toward improvement. 

Kaia Alceme notes, “I make sure that my teammates and I are always connected. Recently, we’ve been using the phrase ‘lock-in,’ so I always have my headphones in and envision how well [my teammates and I] are going to perform.”

The bond within the team is highlighted as a crucial element in overcoming mental hurdles, with constant encouragement and support from teammates and coaches.

The conversation delves into the personal goals of the athletes, ranging from breaking school records to achieving specific times in their respective events. 

The mention of college aspirations for some athletes like Simmons and Alcime adds an extra layer of ambition, with dreams of competing at the collegiate level.

As the discussion turns to the challenge of balancing academics and track during the season, athletes share their strategies. Turning off from school as soon as they leave and focusing on homework upon returning home are common practices. While acknowledging the time constraints, athletes emphasize the importance of discipline and effective time management.

In the world of track and field, success is not just about individual accomplishments but also about the collective effort of a dedicated team. The athletes in this conversation showcase determination, resilience, and a shared commitment to excellence.

As they embark on a new season, we can only anticipate the achievements and milestones that these athletes will reach, both on and off the track. Coach Vince, with four years of coaching experience, expresses excitement for what lies ahead, marking the start of another promising season for this dynamic and driven team. 

More to Discover