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In the zone: Meet the middle school record breakers

Five break or tie track and field records

Staff writer

Five Marion Middle School Wildcats let out mighty roars this year, as they respectively either broke or tied previous track and field records that were about as old as they are, or in some cases, several decades older.

Sprinter Anthony Brooks and distance runner Heidi Grimmett, both seventh graders, were swift enough in their respective events to chase down two records each. Brooks did it with a 25.28-second 200-meter and a 57.63-second 400.

Competitive by nature, Brooks said he was excited to hear he had left each record in the dust.

“I usually run hard,” he said. “I sprint all day, and I really just like beating people.”

Grimmett earned her records by running a 2:35.6 in the 800 and a 5:41.88 in the 1600. However, when it happened, each came as a total surprise, and she was overwhelmed with emotion.

“I cried because I didn’t think I would get it,” she said. “[The feeling] is hard to put into words.”

Their classmates, Brooklyn Riddle and MicKelly Soyez, each broke field event records. Riddle broke a triple jump record with a jump of 31 feet 5½ inches, and Soyez threw a discus 94’ 8” to earn her place in Wildcat track and field history.

“I was shocked at first; really just expressionless,” Riddle said, where Soyez said that she felt the same way when she heard the news, even though it was a goal she had set for herself at the beginning of the year.

Eighth grader Anne Baliel also tied a long-standing pole vault record by successfully clearing 9’, a height which her dad also reached when he was in middle school.

“It was nice a lot of my friends were there watching,” Baliel said. “I wasn’t expecting to do it because it was a windy day.”

Each athlete said their respective parents and coaches vigorously encouraged them to work hard and push themselves in their events throughout the season, and each athlete had different ways to prepare before competition.

“Before I throw I like to listen to rock music to get pumped up, and as soon as I step in the ring I zone everything else out,” Soyez said.

Brooks used other media as forms of inspiration and mental preparation.

“In the 400 you just have to go, just sprint the whole thing,” he said. “I usually watch [Usain] Bolt run before I race. He’s the fastest man alive.”

Looking to the future, each has their sights set on breaking records next year.

Grimmett, whose 1600 and 800 times already are faster than the eighth grade records, is looking forward to competing in the 3200. When she runs, she “zones and wins.”

Consequently, each athlete said they enter a mindset known only as “the zone” when they compete.

Riddle articulated the zone as such:

“There is something about the way you work at it and then when you compete you feel free, you feel like there is nothing in your way stopping you from what your goal is.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling.”

Last modified May 18, 2017

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