Runners Warm up for Season around Corner

Marian Steinmann, Staff Writer

Legs flying, arms pumping, senior Brandon Battle rounds the corner of the track. The finish line is in sight, but his mind is focused not on what’s in front of him. He pictures a moment years in the future: He sees himself achieving his lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics.

Battle’s focus snapped back to Chicago as he crosses the finish line, placing first in his race and locking in a new all-time record. He timed 47.88 seconds, surpassing the previous record of 48.24.

“After the race I was yelling and pumping my chest,” Battle said. “I was excited. After that I was just relaxing and trying to enjoy the moment.”

Battle’s race was at the fourth and final meet of the indoor track season. IHSA categorized outdoor track with the summer sports, so its season will officially start April 5.

“I’m excited about outdoor season,” Battle said. “My motto going into the season is ‘unfinished business.’”

Although indoor and outdoor track have separate seasons, Battle considers outdoor track an extension from what he’s been doing all year.

“Indoor season is kind of like season openers; you’re trying to get back into track meet shape, pretty much,” he said.

The outdoor season schedule consists of seven home events and 12 away meets. The team will travel all around the Metro East, having meets at Triad, Mascoutah and East St. Louis.

IHSA Sectionals and finals will wrap up the season in June, a few weeks later than in previous years.

Junior Geordan Patrylak, one of the team’s distance runners, is confident that this year’s group will perform well at state.

“We have a lot of talent on the team this year,” Patrylak said. “The team is ready to go this season, and I’m looking forward to winning some meets as a team.”

Along with the team’s success, Patrylak has some personal goals he would like to achieve at the meets he attends.

“I’m hoping to run 9:30 or faster in the two mile this year, as well as qualify for state in the two mile,” Patrylak said.

Battle also has aspirations for the upcoming competitions; he can’t wait to compete as a senior and continue being one of the top runners in the area.

“My goal is to win a state championship and take down the outdoor state records,” Battle said.