By Brooke Retkowski, The Whetstone
Freshman Kai Cole ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division 3 for the 60-meter dash at the 2019 Collegeville Classic on Jan. 19.
Cole ran the event in 6.82 seconds.
“I train by focusing on different running techniques and watching videos on professional sprinters before my meets,” he said.
Cole is just one of many Wesley track team members who are excelling and impressing other Division 3 teams – and many from Division 1 – across the country.
This, despite the school having no facilities for them to practice and never playing at home, the team continues to place at meets.
Sophomore sprinter Maysha Foster said the lack of facilities gives the team motivation.
“Because we do not get the same treatment as other teams, such as having a locker room or a place to practice on campus, we use that as determination at events,” she said.
Junior sprinter Evelina Sloboh placed first at the most recent meet on Feb. 8. She ran the women’s 60-meter dash in 7.60 seconds placing her No. 1 in the nation in Division 3.
“I go to the trainers before every track meet,” she said. “I take an ice bath and get any necessary treatment so I am ready to compete.”
Coach Stephen Kimes said his team is successful because of the work and time athletes puts into their training.
“It is all about personal sacrifice because a lot of the athletes don’t get breaks between seasons,” he said. “Some of them start in September, get a few weeks off for winter break, and then come back to continue to train for spring meets. They have to have a passion for it because it’s tough to come out and run, throw, or jump all the time.”
Sophomore sprinter Thomas Kalieta Jr. said the team is used to having low resources to prepare for meets, and credits Kimes’ ingenuity for overcoming them.
“Coach Kimes finds ways to incorporate exercises and drills that gets the job done with the little resources we have,” he said. “As a team we push through these challenges and it makes us better.”
Kimes said he and the other coaches have to be creative when it comes to practicing.
“For example, we have to figure out how we are going to long jump inside when we don’t have the space to do a full approach,” he said.
The team changes practice locations based on the weather and what they are trying to accomplish for an upcoming meet.
Kimes said they practice at different locations all the time.
“We use Wesley West to do hurdles, jumps, and throws,” he said. “If it is warm out we will go out to the track at Central Middle School, old Dover High School, the grass area at the post office, or the grass field by the Governor’s Mansion. When it is cold outside, we will use Wesley West or the old Blue Hen mall parking lot.”
Last semester, all of Wesley’s athletic teams, except football, joined the new Atlantic East Conference.
Sloboh said the new conference does not affect the way the team trains for meets.
“We are continuing to work hard because we don’t know what to expect,” she said.
Kalieta said he doesn’t think the new conference will affect the track team.
“This winter season we aren’t going to have a conference meet and personally I am thrilled we don’t,” he said. “It gives us more time to focus on the championship season.”
Kimes said he is looking forward to competing in the new conference.
“We left the CAC Conference with several records,” he said. “I can assure you we will have the best quality in the new conference.”