The Section IV Indoor Track and Field Championships took place on Jan. 17, and it was a day to remember for Trumansburg. Four individuals were crowned Section IV champions. Quaylen Lamarre was first in the boys pole vault, Makenzie Masters won the girls 1500m race walk, Gracie Wright topped the girls 300m run, and Glenn Parker finished first in the girls 55m dash.
For close friends Wright and Parker, the victories were not expected. Wright’s 300m time of 43.04 was the best of any runner in Section IV, regardless of school size.
“It was honestly so crazy,” Wright said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I just wanted to get points for the team. It was just an amazing feeling. Then I had to think about the rest of my races.”
Parker won by a hair in her race, which dampened her opportunity to celebrate right away.
“I actually had no idea that I won the race when I crossed the finish line,” Parker said. “It was so close. I felt really good having run my race. I felt that I had run my race the best I could. I was happy even if I hadn’t won the race.”
Just two-hundredths of a second separated Parker and the second-place finisher, Waverly’s Melina Ortiz. Shortly after the race, still unsure of her victory, Parker was embraced by her coach Neil Derache, and without any words exchanged, Parker knew she won.
Heading into the race, Parker had to fight off some nervous energy to get her mind ready.
“I was quite nervous because [Melina Ortiz] has been one of my biggest competitors,” Parker said. “I was really focusing in on myself. I was in that mindset of wanting to run my own race, get a good start and finish it for myself.”
The 7.66 second finish for Parker was a new personal record and one that was over one-tenth of a second quicker than her preliminary time. The difference in the two races for Parker was her level of absolute focus.
“I narrowed my mindset,” Parker said. “I think about my mindset a lot. In the prelims, I was just looking to get into the finals. But I was so nervous about it that I had a bad start. Really, I was just trying to save my race and move forward. When I found out I was in the finals, I knew I really had to focus in and not worry about my other competitors as much.”
Wright is a multi-sport athlete and a team captain of Trumansburg girls soccer. Her experience in her favorite sport of soccer only prepares her for indoor track season.
“[Soccer] really keeps me in shape and ready to run the 300 and 400 because I’m an outside midfielder,” Wright said. “I’m constantly running up and down the field, chasing the ball, chasing whoever has the ball and making sure I’m getting there first.”
Getting to the finish line first in the 300m run helped Trumansburg come away with a third-place finish as a team in Section IV. Wright did everything she could to help her team place as high as possible.
“I knew we could do it,” Wright said. “I just knew that we all had to do our best in everything we did. I initially was signed up to do the 600 as well and then I tried the 1,000 before. Running what I could and having other people be able to place in their events helped.”
Parker and Wright are very close friends and help push each other to be their best on the track. But Wright is even closer with another teammate, her twin sister Emma. The trio all raced together in the 4x200m relay last year, and Wright discussed the benefit of having her twin sister racing alongside her.
“We’re together all the time,” Gracie said. “We have a really close relationship. You can imagine how competitive we are with each other. Especially in the 400, we’re always next to each other pushing.”
What makes their bond even better is that Parker and the Wright sisters are all juniors. They’ll have another year as teammates waiting for them when this season comes to a close.
“It feels amazing,” Parker said. “It’s so exciting for me. This year has been a really great year, and I’m really looking forward to next year being an even better year. I really want to see that improvement later this season like I already have.”
In just over two weeks, Parker and Wright will be looking to repeat their success at the Section IV state qualifiers. Both went to the state championships as part of a relay team last year, but recognize how great of an accomplishment it would be to reach as an individual.
Those races will take place on Feb. 15 at Cornell University. A strong performance at the Section IV championships has Trumansburg track and field wanting more.
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