MVA Track and Field Team Hit Stride in Season
The MVA Track and Field team is amidst a great season. Most meets have been close to home, with the team missing out on some high profile competitions, to ensure our student-athletes stay healthy as the top priority. The team has benefitted from being a member of the Citrus League which has provided consistent opportunities for competitions.
While a number of student-athletes who have been distance learning, getting them to campus on time for practice was a challenge, and reminding everyone to wear masks during training have been small hurdles to an otherwise exciting season.
Three student-athletes in particular, Alex Georgiev, a freshman; Weston Baptiste, a senior; and Lily Henne, a junior, have been perhaps the most prolific athletes this year. Alex has broken the Freshman State Record in the pole vault on three occasions, including this past weekend at Tohopekaliga, where he soared to 15’ 5” (4.70m). This mark ranks him No. 1 in the state of Florida amongst all classifications and he holds the national lead for freshmen.
“I got away from distance running and started pole vaulting more than two years ago with the help of Coach David Jones, who knew I had a history in gymnastics which can help in pole vault,” said Alex. “This year, I started the season stuck at 13’6”, but once I faced competition in a meet, I earned three personal records (PRs) and landed myself at 14’9” at the Boles meet. At the next meet, I hit 15’3” and then 15’5” being my all-time PR so far. I attribute all of my success to Coach Jones, who has walked me through every step of pole vaulting, providing support and advice through the many hours of our training sessions and competition.
“When I’m vaulting, I try not to think about the height because it just gets into my head, but when I know I am about to PR or set a state lead, I don’t focus on anything besides running until I take off and everything goes into auto pilot. It’s hard to compete against myself when there’s no one left at my height, but I just try to think about how I can better myself and hopefully PR. I’d like to thank Coach Treweek, Coach Phiri, Coach Robinson, and especially Coach Jones for all of their support and help. I wouldn’t be near where I am now without them and I am extremely thankful. I would especially like to thank Coach Jones for the hundreds of hours of dedication towards the pole vault team and the rest of the track athletes he has put in.”
Weston is a senior headed to Georgia Tech to study biology/pre-med next fall. He is currently No. 1 in the nation and No. 3 in the world in the 400m with a time of 46.63 seconds. “Coach Gerald Phiri is my coach and very experienced in the sport,” said Weston. “With his coaching and advice, I’ve been able to continue improving. I’m feeling very good and am motivated to achieve all that I can in our District, Regional and State competitions.”
Junior Lily Henne is currently ranked No. 1 in Florida at 3200m and No. 5 for the 1600m for Class 2A. She has great range from cross country to contributing to MVA’s girls 4x400m relay. A thoughtful student-athlete, Lily has tremendous focus and credits her coaches and team for a successful season.
“I’ve learned a lot this year, in cross country I figured out that a higher emphasis on cross training and less mileage keeps me healthy and allows me to progress,” said Lily. “I’ve implemented this throughout track season and I’m showing improvements in races. I’ve also had amazing guidance from Mrs. Treweek, our coach. She always gives us challenging workouts, helps us sort through strategy in distance race and always supports us on challenging days. When I’m in front I picture my larger scale goals, focusing on my form and making sure every stride I take has intent.”
“When I’m running alone, I stay competitive by reminding myself how hard I’ve worked in practice and how grateful and happy I am to be competing. It’s really difficult to settle for a slower time or worse place when thinking about how much you love what you’re doing. I’d like to thank Coach Treweek and Coach Jones for always supporting my team and I throughout the years.”
“We are about to begin the FHSAA state series, with Districts on April 15 followed by Regionals on May 1,” said Coach Gerald Phiri. “We’ve had a great year with everyone continuing to improve. We have five student-athletes who could legitimately be State Champions in seven or eight events on a perfect day. We also have others who should make it to the State meet, including our relays. Weston has surely been the star of our team; however, I would say watching Alex’s vaults over the last three weeks has been quite spectacular. The crowed has been excited and wild. It has been awesome to see fans and competitors genuinely in awe of his feats. The goal now is to sharpen our student-athletes, while allowing them to be rested enough to give their best performances yet. The great performances we see late in the track & field season are a result of all the hard work done during fall conditioning or cross-country season, but we look to wind our up season healthy and strong.”