The NHS Indoor Track and Field Team Shatter Two School Records
On January 21st, the Nutley High Schools Winter Track and Field team headed over to Staten Island to compete at the Essex County Indoor Relay Championships, where they were able to break not one, but two school records.
The meet began at 9 am and featured all the schools across Essex County, so the competition was strong. However, Head Coach Gerald Ryan was confident in the girls' distance medley relay (DMR) team and 4x800 relay team. “They all have raced well in previous meets and they have been producing very good workouts,” Ryan said. The girl's DMR team then managed to get second place out of 10 teams while the 4x800 relay got fourth place out of nine teams.
First on the track was the distance medley relay race. This event consists of the first leg (person) running 1200 meters, then they hand off the baton to the second leg who runs 400 meters, then they pass the baton to the third leg who runs 800 meters, then finally they give the baton to the last leg who runs 1600 meters. The Raiders DMR team of Freshman Meya Ranges (1200 leg), Senior Adrianna Quinn (400 leg), Senior Marcella Blancato (800 leg), and Sophomore Jaylin Romero (1600 leg) clocked an overall time of 13:31.38 – taking off 13.29 seconds from the previous DMR school record that was set back in 2017 by Amanda Zheng, Chloe Jelley, Shawna Lewis, and Justine Conca.
An hour or so later, Blancato, Ranges, and Romero returned back to the track along with Senior Emma Kirby for the 4x800 meter relay race. Sophomore Jaylin Romero led off the race, splitting a time of 2:31.44 that impressed Coach Ryan who said he was "shocked" with their performance. Romero then passed the baton over to Freshmen Meya Ranges, who passed it to Senior Emma Kirby, who then passed it over to the anchor leg, Senior Marcella Blancato. “Whenever I’m running and I’m feeling good about the race, my mind is clear and everything is just a blur. During this race I knew that we had a strong chance at beating the record, so in the last 200 meters I had to constantly remind myself of putting in all of the effort I had for my teammates in order to keep my legs pumping and my mind motivated towards the finish,” said Blancato. Because of that, she was able to cross the finish line with a personal time of 2:32.28 and an overall time of 10:31.26, which landed them in fourth place. In addition, they were able to take off 17.32 seconds off from the previous 4x800 meter relay school record that was also set back in 2017 by Jaela Small, Amanda Zheng, Shawna Lewis, and Samantha Gabriele.
Overall, the Raiders entered the meet with their heads held high which ultimately led them to break the school records, as well as medaling in both events. “I was very confident in my teammates. I knew that we had the chance to beat the record due to our average times, so the race was overall very exciting because we had the chance to prove to ourselves and our school that we could break it,” stated Blancato. “I was extremely relieved and proud of my fellow relay partners because I knew that we gave it all that we had to get our names in the history books.”