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On Sunday, December 28th, the girls indoor track team competed in the PSAL Holiday Classic meet at the New Balance Track and Field Armory in Manhattan.
One of the largest meets of the season, the Holiday Classic is one of the only meets in the indoor season that allows athletes to compete in up to 3 events. It featured 289 runners in over 45 heats in the Varsity 300 meter dash alone. The girls team placed well in the 1500 meter racewalk, 1000 meter run, 3000 meter run, and various field events.
In the 3000 meter run, senior Elaine Li set a personal record with a time of 12:17, shattering her previous best set at last year’s Holiday Classic by 5 seconds and placing 11th out of 25 runners. Sophomore Sasha Balkaran also set a personal record, running the 3000 meters with a time of 13:31, placing 17th.
Juniors Joanna Huo and Hailey Lam performed well in the 1000 meter run, both finishing in the top 20 out of 100 runners. Joanna finished in 3 minutes and 31 seconds, while Hailey finished in 3 minutes and 38 seconds, setting a personal record by mere fractions of a second. Sophomores Nicole Moshel and Katherine Chan finished 29th and 39th respectively, and junior Michaela Chum rounded out the 1000 meter runners, coming in 69th.
Several girls competed in the 300 meter dash as well. Freshmen Tamara Takalov and Leslie Huang sprinted to times of 54 and 55 seconds respectively, while sophomores Nicole, Katherine, and Monira Hasan finished the event in 50 seconds, 53 seconds, and 58 seconds respectively.
In what has become Townsend’s trademark event, the 1500 meter racewalk, sophomore Dulce Cervantes and junior Hannah Yoo led the girls to a dominant showing. Dulce claimed first with a time of 7:39, with Hannah running-up in a time of 7:57. Junior Wendy Liu also placed in the top 10, completing the event in 8:23 and coming in 7th. Sophomore Kaberi Dhar set a personal record, shaving 5 seconds off her previous best for a time of 9:42.
In the jumping events, sophomore Jilissa Drayton represented Townsend as the sole triple jumper. She finished 11th, jumping 26 feet and 6 inches. Junior Kellie Zestanakis was crowned victor in the pole vault, taking first place in the event for the fourth time this season, clearing a height of 8 feet. When asked about her performance, Kellie said, “I met my PR (personal record) for indoor track, so I was satisfied”.
The meet took place in the middle of winter break, leaving athletes to train on their own. Some athletes, like Kellie and Wendy, found this to have impacted their performances.
Kellie said, “I couldn’t practice pole vault at all [during the break]… but it was just small technical problems affecting me.”
Wendy agreed, saying “I didn’t have much practice and [therefore] felt unprepared.”
Other athletes, like Nicole, found the hiatus not to have affected their performances. “I think the holiday break didn’t make a difference because when I run it depends on how I pace myself not really on how much practice I got,” she said.