by Andrew Garda
The Montclair Mounties Track and Field team performed well at the Penn Relays Carnival, which took place from April 26 to April 28.
Shelby Bigsby, who has carried her success from the Winter season to many strong performances this Spring, finished third in the girl’s shot put with a throw of 46-10.75.
The 4×100 team of Victoria Liverpool, Rachel Handelman, Nyjah Young-Bey and Stephanie Webb ran a season best of 50.55, while 4×400 team of Liverpool, Handelman, Young Bey and Elizabeth Cummings) ran a season best of 4:03.93.
“Overall it was a good day. Everyone was in good spirits, they were ready, they were focused, they were excited,” head coach Sophia Kenny said during a recent practice.
While Bigsby finished third, she broke her personal record for outdoors twice during the competition and improvements, more than distance, is what the Mounties are focusing on right now.
“People ask her, “when are you going to hit fifty again?” and it’s not just about the number — it’s about the improvement,” Kenny said. “Fifty was her indoor PR, and now we’re with a different shot, different venue, different type of circle, so it’s a gradual process. Things will happen as they’re meant to happen.”
One of the parents even told Kenny that the times across the board were better than last year’s Penn Relays times.
“That’s all we look for, improvement,” Kenny said.
For Kenny and the staff, success at the Penn Relays was really about setting the team up for a run as it approaches championship season. With the Essex County Relays on Friday, the high level of competition at Penn was an ideal tuneup.
“There are a lot of teams who get there and they’re dropping extremely fast times, which is a great thing but our goal is to make sure we’re consistent and we stay healthy for the entire year,” Kenny said. “So for us to do well there in the first major competition before championship season starts, that’s a good indicator of where we are.”
With the County Relays on Friday, Kenny and her staff is looking to continue making changes in their relays and lineups. That means every day is an open competition, and all jobs are there for the taking. Kenny expected to see some of that in the dual meet against Livingston on Tuesday.
“I told the kids, I’m looking for some more spots to fill. So if you want to be considered for a relay, for counties, drop a time tomorrow,” he said.
And even if someone performs well at counties on Friday, that’s no guarantee they will run the same races — or run at all — if there is a drop off before the next meet or if they might fit somewhere else better.
Kenny said they will continue to tinker, even taking a few ideas from the team itself.
“They sometimes have some interesting suggestions,” Kenny said. “I’m not going to say we’re going with those, but sometimes they’ll say something and it’ll spark a lightbulb, so we’ll say ‘let’s see how that looks,’” he said. “We’re never too old to learn, we’re never too old to try something different and it’s county relays. Three of the events we get to run over and over again through the Meet of Champions.”