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The girls indoor track team faced stiff competition at the EmblemHealth Hispanic Games, one of the largest meets for high schoolers in the entire East Coast.
Adding to the meet’s unqiue atmosphere were salsa rhythms which replaced the usual catchy beats of electronic music. Even the sportscasting was different; Ian Brooks, a New York Road Runners announcer, was on hand to call the races in a distinct British accent.
The meet commenced with the freshman/sophomore 1500 meter racewalk. Maressa Cumbermack and Eileen Jimenez Moral competed in the event, finishing 12th and 21st respectively out of 29 runners. Tensions were high before the race began.
Maressa said, “Just watching the other Long Island racewalkers warm up at such a fast pace was very intimidating. I was so much more nervous walking and standing on the line surrounded by all those girls.” Nevertheless, she set a personal record in the event, finishing in 9 minutes and 20 seconds.
The varsity division of the 1500 meter racewalk was hotly contested. Sophomore Dulce Cervantes, the reigning PSAL freshman champion in the event, placed 9th and medaled with a time of 7:45.
Junior Hannah Yoo and senior Karen Su finished soon after with times of 8:01 and 8:12, finishing 14th and 18th respectively. Hannah, who competed in the freshmen/sophomore division of the event last year, was disappointed with her performance this time around.
“It was only 7 seconds off my PR [personal record] but I wanted to break 7:50 so I wasn’t happy with my time,” Hannah said. Because she was seeded first in the second heat, she felt she was at a disadvantage, saying “I had no one in front of me to gauge myself with.”
Karen, on the other hand, was satisfied with her performance. “My goal for this race was to not get disqualified and really focus on my form, rather [than] to nitpick at time.”
Rounding out the varsity racewalkers were juniors Wendy Liu and Nancy Yone. Wendy came in 26th with a time of 8:26, and Nancy in 32nd with a time of 9:03.
Reflecting on the race, Nancy said that “it wasn’t one of [her] best days.” She added, “I think I need to adjust my pace better, because I think I was intimidated to go out a little faster than usual and it cost me a good ten seconds [from my time].”
In THHS’s only field event, the pole vault, junior Kellie Zestanakis saw her streak of 5 wins come to an end.
While tying her personal record, she finished in 17th place with a height of 8 feet, 0 inches.
While the results were underwhelming in the minds of many members of the team, the girls look to use this meet as inspiration for future ones.