The Western Reserve Academy girls track & field team posted a solid season in 2012, earning a trio of Top 3 finishes that included a first-place finish at the Perry Relays.
The Pioneers were led this season by a core group of seniors in Chevonne Anderson, Elena Deighan, Caroline Depew, Emma Horgan, Ellie McBrier and co-captain Krista Sandercock.
“While one of you joined the team this year, the other four of you have been with the program for all four years, weathering the ups and downs of each season,” said longtime coach Eugene Thomas ’68. “Please accept my hearty thanks to you on behalf of the coaches and the teammates you have touched over the years.”
In addition to claiming the team title at the Perry Relays, the Pioneers won four events:
- The long-jump team of Anne Carter ’14, Emily Heyd ’13 and Christine Orosz ’13, with a combined total of 43 feet, 5.75 inches.\
- The shuttle hurdles team of Daisy Ogede ’13, Halle Sovich ’14, Orosz and Carter, with a time of 1 minute, 12.9 seconds.
- The 3,200-meter team of Margot Warner ’13, Heyd, Deighan and Horgan, with a time of 10:20.5.
- The 1,600-meter team of Horgan, Heyd, Warner and Carter, with a time of 4:28.5.
The squad also turned in a solid performance at the Cuyahoga Heights Relays, finishing in second place with Ogede being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Female Track Performer.
Warner (top photo) and Ogede (bottom photo) were named co-Most Valuable Players for the season at the spring Athletic Awards ceremony.
“This year, we have dual winners for this award as neither the coaches nor the team could separate the true value that each of these ladies brought to the track,” Thomas said. “Although most of you were unable to witness our meets this year, I can tell you that you missed some outstanding performances by these two ladies.
“For our 4 x 800, distance medley and 4 x 400 relays, Margot brought it every single meet. It did not matter whether we were in last place or first place; she ran every leg of her relays as if she was destined to win it. And in almost all cases, she brought us back to a respectable position or put us ahead for good. Her range extends from the 1,600 to the 1,200 to the 800 and down to the 400. Everybody on the team knows what might have happened had we not had Margot.
“Our other recipient, in similar fashion, took her abundant talent and willed herself to use it much, much more this year. To the point where Daisy worked to become our fastest closer in all of our sprint relays, from the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, shuttle hurdles and sprint medley. And for good measure, she quickly became the fastest leg for our 4 x 400 relay. And, as with Margot, had Daisy not stepped up her game this year, we would have had a very different season.”
Tatiana Pavloff ’13 was named the Pioneers’ Most Improved Athlete.
“It took several members of our team and me two years to convince Tatiana to join track,” Thomas said. “Her resistance centered on her desire to sample some of our other spring sports. But in February, there she was in all of her exuberance among the newbies on our team. Although Tatiana had toyed around with the shot put and discus a bit last year, giving us somewhat false hopes that she would join the squad, she really started this season just barely able to get the implements out of her hands without having them fall on her or hit other teammates. Well, over the season, with her upbeat, jolly attitude, she managed to improve her shot by nearly two feet and her discus by more than 10 feet.”
Lucy Cummins ’13 earned the Coaches/Spirit Award.
“One of the only drawbacks to a season filled with relay meets is that each team needs to enter actual individual relays in order to score points. In the running events, you need four runners per event; in the field events, you need at least two competitors, and sometimes three,” Thomas said. “Imagine competing in not one but most meets on the schedule where you are your school’s only entry in a relay event. For many athletes, that would mean simply not competing at all, knowing that unless all the other teams scratched, you may not have a chance to place, let alone win. Lucy was determined not to let that deter her. She was fairly adamant about entering every meet that she could and, lo and behold, she placed in every single one. And the great kicker in all of this is that she ended the season establishing a school record in the pole vault.”
Anderson earned the Carl Basnett Award, which is given by the Class of 1965 to honor the memory of Carl Basnett ’65.
“Chevonne has been the lead-off runner for all of our sprint relays and, since lead-off is the only runner who does not have a running start, her times tend to be slower than if she ran in an open event at a particular distance,” Thomas said. “Most lead-off runners secretly hope that the coach gives them a chance in another spot, some to the point of complaining about how slow their splits are. Chevonne never once complained and accepted her role on this team for three years. She even went about helping the younger runners to whom she had to pass the baton.
“In the interim, she persistently and consistently worked on how she could be a better lead-off runner, how she could, even in that position, improve her times. The old saying is that good things come to those who wait; well for this young lady, who for three years has carried the responsibility of being in charge of the starting block, the baton, the relay card and getting her group to the reporting station on time, for her, the wait surely paid off. Chevonne led off our very successful sprint relays this year as her strong lead-off legs put us firmly in the hunt of most competitions. Her times dropped, and with that, her confidence soared even more. She finishes her senior season as the personification of the expression, ‘Do it for the team.’”
For the season, more than 20 personal records were set – and often then broken – in a wide range of events. Most notably, Carter had several long jumps that were only inches away from landing her on the school’s All-Time list.
With only six seniors graduating from a team with 37 members, next year could be even better for the Pioneers.
“While we surely appreciate the performances of our six seniors, what is also most exciting about this year’s squad is that the rest will be returning next year.” Thomas said. “This year’s juniors made their presence known, earning individual top place finishes and helping various relays, as well. Additionally, the younger ones, the sophomores and freshmen, give every indication that they are ready to make significant contributions to the next couple of seasons. And considering that we have a couple of athletes whose injuries prevented them from performing this year, we have just cause for optimism for next season.”
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