Winter Sports preview — Boys and Girls Indoor Track

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Thrill of the Chase
West Forsyth indoor track team sprints (and jumps) into season

By Janie Peterson
For the Clemmons Courier

Temperatures are dropping — and certainly times will be, too — as the West Forsyth indoor track team began competition in its first meet of the season on Dec. 1. Runners who just completed their cross-country season are especially excited to switch things up a bit.
“I really love the weather during training. It’s the coldest season which makes training fun, particularly if it snows. But I also like the atmosphere in JDL (Fast Track), it’s kind of like another world,” sophomore distance runner LuLu Serang said.
Several accomplished athletes return to the team this winter.
Defending indoor and outdoor long jump state champion Tyson Adams is returning this season. Adams recently committed to N.C. State track and field after receiving offers from UNC-Chapel Hill, High Point University and Davidson College.
After breaking the school record last year, head coach Nate Newsome would like to see Adams go for the state record before he graduates in the spring. His personal best is 24 feet, 4 inches, and the current overall state record is 24 feet, 7.25 inches.
“My goal for this season is to get to 26 ft (in the long jump) and 6.2-6.3 in the 55 (meter dash),” Adams said.
Senior distance runners Brandt Doty and Wesley Haggstrom, who both broke the school 5K record during the cross-country season, will also be returning this season. Haggstrom currently holds the record and recently committed to Charleston Southern University.
On the girls side, top pole vaulters return in senior Haley Hanes, as well as sophomore standout Noelle Childs. Both qualified for the 4-A indoor state meet last year. Top sprinter, sophomore Hannah Hanes — last year’s fastest freshman 500m runner in the state — will be back for her second year of indoor track. For the distance events, Serang and junior Abby Reutinger are expected to be top contributors, as they were during the cross-country season this fall. Senior Tenley Douglass is currently injured but has committed to run at UNC-Greensboro next fall.
This year the team does not have as many coaches as they have in the past, so Newsome has been working with the new dynamic.
“We’re having to rely more on the veteran athletes to help model and lead training groups,” Newsome said.
The more experienced runners on the team have been stepping up and mentoring newer athletes.
“I want them to become faster than me when they become my age. I want West Forsyth to continue to put out champions and I think the best way for that to happen is to learn from the ‘elders,’” junior sprinter Grayson Wolfe said.
Another challenge to the team is increasingly demanding state qualifying standards, making it difficult for even the top athletes to qualify.
“Some of the standards are just so, so extreme… A boy has to run a 4:28 mile to qualify. For the girls 1600, it’s 5:20 — I remember when it was 5:35,” Newsome said.
Just qualifying for a single event is considered a huge accomplishment.
“My goal is to qualify for states in at least one event,” Hannah Hanes said.
For this reason, many runners choose to focus on improving upon their own times.
“We hope that our more elite kids are able to qualify, complete, and finish well at the state meet and for our younger kids, we hope that they learn about what indoor track is about and enjoy competing and improve,” Newsome said.
Newsome modifies his coaching style to best support athletes looking to accomplish different goals.
“You have to be able to switch from making really high-level, subtle tweaks to the high end athlete and immediately switch over to embracing and encouraging the brand new kid who just tried, and be happy that they were able to complete the workout,” Newsome said.
No matter their skill level, all of the team members lift one another up.
“With new runners, I remember running is a sport where improvements are hard to notice right away, but over time they will show. I try to be as positive as possible and let them know that they might not feel like they are good at something right away, but through consistent training and hard work, the sky’s the limit,” Haggstrom said.
The Titans hope to represent West Forsyth in the state meet this winter despite challenging qualifying standards. Nevertheless, all runners and jumpers are looking forward to the thrill of upcoming meets this season.
“I love indoor track because it feels a lot more competitive than outdoor. I love the excitement and adrenaline from (outdoor) track, but indoor track takes it to a whole new level,” Wolfe said.

Girls team roster

Madelin Betson
Noelle Childs
Krisalin Coleman-Simon
Sophie Cowart
Lillian Douglass
Tenley Douglass
Skylar Eisinger
Ellen Haggstrom
Haley Hanes
Hannah Hanes
Sophia Lin
Kate Malanowski
Sajdah Muhamad-Myer
Hope Newsome
Abby Reutinger
Isabella Schilling
Lulu Serang
Chloe Siebert
Lei-Lynn Spencer
Oliver Thomas
Natalie Viera

Boys team roster

Tyson Adams
Aaron Andrade
Connor Bain
Hank Ballard
Elijah Barnette
Jarian Benson
Jackson Cheney
Shane Cornett
Tayshaun Craigman
Sean Davis
Jason Dean
Brandt Doty
Gunnar Douglass
Preston Flowers
Colby Groce
Wesley Haggstrom
Connor Haldeman
Jack Harrison
Jaiden Hubbard
Jiah Jones
Ryan MacReynolds
Reece McLelland
Jackson Melton
Owen Newsome
Ryan Penaloza
Decobe Pettus
Ben Prusko
NeZiah Sprinkle
Aiden Stanfield
Wyatt Stephen
Gabriel Ufret Benitez
Aaron Watkins
Matthew Way
Dylan Williamson
Max Williamson
Greyson Wolfe
Jalil Wood