Record-breaking times, heart-breaking losses

Neshaminy 4×8 relay falls short of states despite third fastest time in school history

Photo Credit: Max Plebani

Photo Credit: Max Plebani

Max Plebani, Staff Writer

Runners on your marks. Set, and a gunshot. Runners stuck between each other, shoulder to shoulder, jolted out at a near sprint, only to have to keep the pace for 800 meters, before passing it off to their next leg in their relay. Four gruesome 200 meter laps in a warm facility, the air thinning each lap in the confined, domed facility. The clock stops with the anchor pushing their final steps past the finish line.

     The Neshaminy High School Boys’ Track and Field Distance Team experienced the same grueling feeling various times over their season for the 4×800 relay, eventually peaking and finishing with the third best time for the indoor season in the school’s history at 8:17.75. Top 20 teams in the state qualify for states, but NHS finished 21st, just 0.18 seconds behind the 20th.

     “The competition is extremely good and when looking back at the 4x8s from last year,it’s crazy to think that these happened just a year apart,” a member of the relay said. “The competition made us better but hurt our opportunity to make states.” 

     Although being 21st, the competition has been steadily improving, especially in the past year. Milesplit shows that during last indoor track season, 20th place ran 8:24.19. A near seven second difference between making states within one year shows how competitive high school sports are growing to be, with talent entering the high school level annually and continuously.

     Despite an extraordinary time for the 4×800 relay, the increased competition ultimately caused NHS to miss out on the state-bid, and the 0.18 second difference stung for every member of the relay who put in so much work to improve.

     “Initially I was feeling a lot of disappointment and frustration,” the same distance runner said. “After reflecting though, I was really proud of myself and the team. We were able to come together and run a great time and relay.”

     The runner was absolutely correct about the team coming together and running a great time as well as relay. In order to even put themselves in a place to make states, they had to trim off time from being around 8:25 to way below 8:20. This required all four members of the relay to run their greatest time in the same exact race, and everybody improved their individual 800 meter time to put themselves in the position to make states. Regardless, investing the amount of work and effort at practice and individually on runs over the weekends during free times made the miniscule cut-off of 0.18 seconds evermore painful. Thankfully, the spring season leaves nothing but hope for the relay to take another shot at making states.

     “It’s going to take an almost perfect race from everybody,” the same runner explained. “We’ll be capable, but putting the relay together on the day of districts will not be easy.”

     In order to make states in the spring season, a state qualifying time must be run the day of districts, after already qualifying for districts, allotting only one chance to qualify and make a run at state competition. Even with one chance, the 4×8 believes they can achieve a state berth this spring season.