Girls Track Team Takes Conference Championship


Photo by Emma Patrick

Junior Riley Knoyle leads the pack in a relay during the indoor State competition. Track and Field competes indoors during the colder months and moves outside later in the Spring.

Lindsey Lankford, Staff Writer

The weather was nice, despite the sun being hidden behind clouds. Not too hot, not too cold. The wind was mild, eliminating any concern of an unbeatable headwind. 

But without the home advantage, the Tigers had to put up a good fight.

And they did just that, earning enough points to tie them for first with only one event left: the 4×400 meter relay.

Four runners. Four laps. One final race to determine the Southwest Conference Champion. 

Seniors Jillian Welsh and Macie Hockett, junior Riley Knoyle and freshman Blakely Hockett took to their starting positions while the rest of the EHS team gathered around the track to cheer them on.

“We were all thrilled that we had a chance to win the meet but this also meant the pressure was on for the 4 by 4 and all we could do was wait anxiously,” sophomore Dylan Peel said. “Everyone was running around getting ready to cheer on our 4 by 4 and it was truly a great experience.”

For Macie, stress was especially high since she had to run in this pivotal race. But her confidence in her team was not shaken. 

“The atmosphere during the SWC conference was nerve racking when it came down to 4×4 but overall it was a good day for everyone who was running,” she said. “All our runners performed well and earned every point we could possibly earn.”

With the shot of the starting pistol, Knoyle leapt off the starting line. 

“All four girls are determined runners who have the incredible ability to chase people down all the way to the line,” senior Sydnee Campbell said. “Despite a rough start, they passed almost every runner on the track.”

Finishing before O’Fallon was the Tiger’s main goal, as whichever team finished before the other would earn the title of conference champion.

Knoyle passed the baton to Macie, who then passed it to her younger sister Blakely. Welsh anchored the race.

As Welsh crossed the finish line in second place, ahead of the Panthers, the Tigers were able to celebrate the conference win, a product of all of the work they had done this year. 

“Our team has done an immense amount of training…” Peel said. “The whole team is always giving 100% in workouts and training and it has really paid off. 

According to Knoyle, the conference win can also be attributed to the team’s cohesiveness.

“[This win] proves we are a true team and not just individuals,” she said.

Coming off of the high of such a narrow win, the Tigers began preparing for their next competition: Sectionals. 

“This win is another confidence boost before we go into sectionals ,” Campbell said. “As the season comes to an end the girls we compete against become more competitive as they prepare to qualify at sectionals. Having this win is reassurance that as a team we still measure up to the competition even as they evolve.