Article and photo by Robert Merrick
On Saturday, March 5th, the Santa Rosa High School track team competed in their first event of the year, the Big Cat Invitational. The invitational was overall positive, with many athletes finishing their races with amazing times, and landing several high placed finishes.c
The day began with a series of relay races, starting with the 100 then the 200 meters races. Afterwards teams competed in the 1600 and 400 meter. While everyone up to this point had been doing well, Sophomore Johnny Ando would run a breakneck four minute and thirty-six second 1600. ”It felt pretty difficult to try and push myself that much after that, but otherwise the adrenaline kind of helps a lot.” Another star 1600 runner was sophomore Camille Newhall, who placed second across the entire meet.
After the 1600 was the track dedication ceremony to coach Doug Courtermache. Courtemarche is a “wonderful coach” according to Ando. Even with such support Courtemarche stayed humble and wanted to emphasize that everything he did was owed to the track team, even going so far as to say that “everyday at practice was the happiest day of my life.”
Following Courtemarche’s heartfelt speech, the girls teams competed in the 100 meter hurdles, and the boys competed in the 110 meter hurdles. After this event the marathon of 400 meters began. There were 5 girls junior varsity heats, 3 varsity girls heats and 7 junior varsity boys heats! With a significantly more moderate 4 heats for the varsity boys. Around this time the long jumpers and pole vaulters started warming up.
For the end of the meet, there were several heats of the 400 and 800 meters, followed by dozens of heats of the 100 meters, 300 hurdles, 200 meters and a 3200, before finally finishing with the 4 by 400 meter relay. After such an exhausting day, every athlete should feel proud. The sportsmanship and athleticism present during Big Cat was well worth the entry fee as with any future meet that the team competes in.