Indoor track meets begin with flashy set of performances


Photo by Edwin Lomotan

Runners of the two-mile race turn the first corner hard in the opening meet.

The first three indoor track meets weren’t just good, they were great, and already included several qualifications for the State and New Balance Nationals meets plus a new school record. They were located at the PG County Sports Complex in Landover. This will be where all the meets are this season, except for “Last Track to Philly,” which will be in Bethesda and “The Ocean Breeze Invitational,” in Staten Island, NY.

The first meet was on Dec. 6. This was the first actual indoor meet in two years as last season was altered due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The distance team was low on participants to start the season, but despite this, junior Yoni Zaslavsky posted two PRs in the 800 and 1600 races (2:35 and 5:40) to carry the load for the boys. “Even though winter track I traditionally see as a conditioning season, this year it was much different with more improvement because of great coaching,” Zaslavsky said.

Not many boys from the distance team last year decided to come back, but the ones who did return thought the team now is more tight knit than ever before.

The sprinters had a much more full roster. A notable placement for them was senior Ryeed Zaman who ran a 39.32 300 dash. The 4/200 relay team carried with a third place finish (1:41) and senior Yule Pieters shocked with a 6 ‘2 high jump. Junior Aaliyah Jalloh crushed at second in the 500 (1.21) and junior Autumn Ingram PR’d in the 55 hurdles (10.19).

For the girls, junior Victoria Ketzler was scheduled to run the 800 and 1600, but she woke up with cold-like symptoms and was unable to attend. Despite this, freshman Ava Eisenman and sophomore Aanya Tiwari led the way with PR 6:07 and 12:43 1600 and 3200 races respectively.

While Ketzler is the main focal point of girls’ distance, their team is growing stronger every day and has become a true force.

The second meet was on Dec. 13. The boys’ distance team was still not at full strength here, but despite this, sophomore Edward Sun exploded with his first ever sub 5-minute 1600 (4:56) to lead them, while freshman Kal Yewslew finished with a PR of his own (5:23).

For the girls, Victoria Ketzler made her season debut with a 5:30 1600 and first place but it was nowhere close to her career best (5:06), as she stood as their only distance runner.
As for the sprinters, Ryeed Zaman again led, this time in the 55 dash (6.93 secs), the 4/400 team led the relays at ninth (4:01), and senior Yule Pieters topped his PR with a 6 ‘4 high jump. Aaliyah Jalloh again led, this time in the 300 dash (42.69), Autumn Ingram led again in the 55 hurdles (10.72), and sophomore Caitlin Doherty finished seventh in the high jump (4-06).

The third meet was on Dec. 20. People continued to be out for boys’ distance heading into this meet. Freshman Luke Gabrielle made his season debut in the 800 (2:2o) and Kal Yewslew ran a PR 2:26. Junior Kurtus Hsu made his season debut with a PR 5:20 1600. For the girls, junior Meilani Rodgers made her season debut in the 800 (2:38), which was nowhere close to her PR either and Victoria Ketzler grabbed an Indoor PR in the 1600 (5:20).

For the sprinters, Aaliyah Jalloh led in the 300 and 500 (42.79/1:19), but the biggest performance was Yule Pieters’s new school record 6’5 high jump.

Pieters joined track as a junior but still has become one of the county’s premiere jumper/sprinter dual threat in a short time.

Overall, the beginning of the season was a success, and the team camaraderie is higher than ever, especially for a distance team with less than 20 participants, over 50 less than the XC team this past fall.

Freshman Anna Rusnock is still enjoying her first season despite not running in meets for track and just practicing. “I’ve never pushed myself physically this hard and there were times when I felt like quitting but through great coaching and teammates, I’ve learned to like running even if it’s painful because in the end I get to achieve goals I never thought I’d be able to achieve,” Rusnock said.