The MJHS track and field team has had an incredibly successful start to the season so far. Even more impressive, though, is the recent performance of the girl’s 4x800 relay team, whose relay time has earned them the number two rank in the state of Tennessee for the girl’s 4x800 race.
The 4x800 race consists of four runners who each run 800 meters, or two laps, around the track. There can be anywhere from two to eight teams racing at a time, and each relay team starts in its own lane.
At the sound of the starting gun, runner number one takes off, trying her hardest to cut over to the closest inside lane. As she nears the end of her second lap, runner number two lines up in whichever lane the preceding girl is in and takes her position. Before the next runner can start, runner number one has to hand off a baton. If she or her teammate drops the baton, her team is disqualified.
Julia Karsten, Alex Houston, Jalyn Jenkins and Sydney Jaynes make up MJHS’s four-girl relay team. Of the three meets so far this track season, they’ve gotten first place each race by almost half a lap, with a record time of 10 minutes and 21 seconds.
Jenkins, who runs first, Jaynes, who runs third, and Karsten, who runs last, have all raced in the 4x800 relay before. Houston, an MJHS junior, is second leg in the order of running, with her record time of two minutes and 38 seconds. But as this is her first year on the track and field team, going into the first race, she had no idea what to expect.
“I didn’t know we were going to be this good,” says Houston.
Houston says that all four girls were ecstatic when they found out that their relay team was ranked number two in the state.
“It was really exciting because we are so close and we work really well together.”
Now, with a new feeling of motivation, they know exactly what they need to do to reach number one.
“We each need to get our individual times down so that our overall time can improve.”
The track team’s next meet is this Thursday at Lebanon High School, and Houston is optimistic that this will be another successful shot at a chance to earn a state-qualifying time.
“Our goal is to win state because we can, and we will.”