Ella Brock, Bailey Nowland, Lucy Fletcher and Kenzi Henkle huddled up a couple of weeks ago before running the 4×100 relay and chanted, “1-2-3 record!”
The quartet of eighth-graders knew they were close to breaking the Seymour Middle School record that has stood since 1992.
In fact, as seventh-graders, those four actually beat the time but were ineligible to take the mantle on the record board because they weren’t in the right grade.
So now as eighth-graders, they wasted no time into the season to accomplish that goal. The group ran a 54.57 to break the record originally held by Angel Applegate, Cathy Bounds, Lindsey Bollinger and Amy Engleking in 1992.
“Once we knew the time, we were so happy,” Fletcher said.
“We were yelling and jumping,” added Nowland.
One of the keys in the 4×100 relay is making sure the girls execute their exchanges efficiently.
“Really trusting each other with our handoffs and stuff,” Brock said.
Nowland said it was important to mark down their steps and take the baton with the correct hand. The first and third legs of the relay take the baton with their right hand, and the second and fourth legs take it with their left hand.
Brock runs first, hands it off to Nowland, who passes it off to Fletcher, and Henkle closes it out.
On if she feels pressure being the anchor, Henkle said, “Yeah.”
But then her teammates chimed in, saying, “She’s the fastest one.”
Henkle proved her speed again Monday night at home against Jennings County. Prior to the meet, she said she wanted to try to break the record in the 100-meter dash, and sure enough, Henkle did just that.
She ran a 12.91 to break the record set by Bollinger in 1992.
Seymour won the meet against Jennings County on Monday 59-46.
In addition to running the 4×100 relay and 100, Henkle also runs the 200, in which she took home first place. Brock also runs the 4×400 relay and hurdles and does long jump. Brock won the 100 hurdles on Monday and anchored the 4×400 relay to victory.
Nowland, who writes her events on her wrist each meet because “I can’t remember them,” also runs the 200 and 100, which she placed third in on Monday, and Fletcher also runs in the sprints.
In the 4×100 relay specifically, this group of athletes hasn’t lost in quite some time. They won every single race as seventh-graders, and they haven’t lost yet this season, either.
“We’ve been together since sixth grade,” Fletcher said.
Henkle also plays soccer, Brock plays soccer and does gymnastics and both Nowland and Fletcher do cheerleading. They all plan to run track and field in high school next year as freshmen at Seymour High School.
But before they graduate middle school, they want to keep their streak alive and keep winning races. They have a meet tonight at home against Northside Middle School, are home to Bedford next Tuesday and close out the year with the tri-county meet on May 8.
They all said they want to try to break re-break their own record of 54.57. Last week, they came close, running a 54.69.
For a record that stood for nearly 31 years, the girls are excited knowing their names will now be up on that record board.
“It’s amazing that we broke it and it has been so long,” Henkle said.