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Girls 4×400 meter relay breaks school record

Places second at conference

Katie Bullock, Features editor

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Junior Lily Abdulla prepares for her lead off leg of the 4x400 meter relay.

To most students, four minutes means passing period. But to the varsity girls 4×400 meter relay team, four minutes seven seconds means running a mile.

At 9:45 p.m. on May 6 at Belton High School, senior Cayla Adamson, juniors Lily Abdulla and Dinedye Denis and sophomore Ashley Johnson broke Winnetonka’s girls 4×400 meter relay record by three seconds at track and field conference.

“It [the race] had me on the edge of my chair and the balls of my feet,” junior Mariah White said. “When I saw Dinedye start running that last leg, it was like I was running with her actually. I felt this rush of energy come over me and I just started screaming my heart out. I was so happy for them.”

White, along with the rest of the track team, has been watching the 4×400 relay all season as they attempted to break the school record.

“It makes you nervous [to watch the 4×400 team] because you know that they’ve been trying to beat the record but have been like two seconds over it. So the fact that they got three seconds under tonight just made me go, ‘woah,'” White said. 

Spectators like White helping to cheer on the relay team helped them break the record according to Adamson, who ran a personal record of a 61 second split. 

“The reason I ran so fast was because everybody in the school was cheering us on,” Adamson said. “Overall, happy would be an understatement. I am ecstatic.”

Denis, who broke the school record for the open 400 meter with a time of 57 seconds at KU Relays on April 22, ran a 56 second split during the relay. Not knowing that the team had broken the school record, Denis broke down in tears immediately following her run, upset about placing second to Platte County.

“By the time I finished, not only did I feel dead, but I was sad that we didn’t finish first,” Denis said. “It’s not always about the place, but I am a person who is very concerned about the places we get. I was crying with my team because we did so well, but also because I felt like we could have gotten that first place spot.”

The race was Johnson’s first time breaking a school record, a goal which has motivated her to do her best throughout the season.

“My dad told me that the [previous] record had been up there since like 1976. He said, ‘Today is the day that that record comes off the board and yours goes up,” Johnson said. “That’s all that I was thinking about when I was running. I almost cried when we made it.” 

Assistant coach Dale Brown is one of many coaches who helped the relay team achieve their goal of breaking the school record.

“This was something they had been working toward all season and we [the coaches] always knew they had it in them,” Brown said.

Although Brown helped the team through his coaching, he gives the credit to the athlete’s hard work and dedication which has required them to make sacrifices in order to focus on running.

“All you can do is coach them in their events and give them good practices, so having a team that is willing to work hard – that’s what it’s all about,” Brown said. “You don’t get to where you are at now without giving up a lot. The fact that they are putting in the work, that they are doing things the right way – it’s important. The sacrifices they have made have been big, but so is where they have gotten.”

Abdulla, who began running the 4×400 last year, has made large strides in becoming a better runner during this track season.

“I ran a 63 [second] race last year, but this year I ran a 60,” Abdulla said. “I remember during winter training coach Brown said, ‘Lilly don’t tell yourself you can’t make a 63. I know you can make under a 63,’ and now it’s come true. All the training I’ve been doing has paid off and gotten me where I am.”

Although she was disappointed with the team’s placing, Denis believes that the most important part of running is the effort that people put into their races and the support that the team gives each other.

“In the end, all that matters, besides breaking the school record, is that we put in the work,” Denis said. “Honestly, I’m just really proud of my team. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Them and their support and their cheers: -it keeps me going. I wouldn’t do it without them. I love them.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Girls 4×400 meter relay breaks school record”

  1. Michelle & Scott Johnson on May 6th, 2017 11:31 am

    We couldn’t be prouder of this group of girls. They have worked so hard this year and deserve this wonderful reward. Can’t wait to see their names up on the record board in the gym. Thanks girls for giving all of us a VERY EXCITING season so far. Special thanks to the coaches and rest of the team for being so supportive all year! GO TONKA!!!

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Girls 4×400 meter relay breaks school record