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Feb. 27, 2017, was a day that went down in LT history. That night, four runners broke the 4 x 200 relay by a half a second at the Downers Grove South Invitational meet at North Central College.
Although the order and structure of the relays can vary, when the record was broken the order went: Antwane Thigpen ’17, Thomas Saggau ’17, Reggie Terrell ’17 and Armand Xavier ’19. Xavier was put in to replace Robert Hatch ‘17, who was out due to a pulled hamstring. The coaches have labeled Xavier as “The Rookie” due to the fact that he is only a sophomore and just beginning his sprinting success.
This year has been increasingly prosperous because they did not lose any teammates from last year. Their coaching staff includes Luke Taylor, Sheldon Harris and Matthew Grider. The team has reached most of its goals, like breaking the record and maintaining speed in the workouts under these coaches, and it is only set to continue for the outdoor season.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Coach Taylor said. “They did well last year and they’re even better now, so we are just trying to keep things the same and keep them healthy.”
Another technique that the coaches feel has helped the boys is making the workouts based on speed and less endurance. Two hundred meters is only one eighth of a mile, so speed is very important for their races. Thigpen, who usually anchors the relay, feels he has enhanced on the most important parts of running.
“Since last year, I have improved on areas I really needed to work on, like my speed and getting off of the starting blocks faster,” Thigpen said.
When the relay broke the school record, it was not only the members that were over the moon. The throwers, long distance runners and the other field event competitors were especially proud of them.
“We showed up to the meet planning to break that record, and we were surprised that we actually did,” Thigpen said. “Although it was a hectic race, it felt really good to do.”
The long distance team has also been running extremely well. The two best runners are Danny Kilrea ’18 and Vince Zona ’17, who are both nationally ranked.
“The consistent success of the long distance runners has motivated the other parts of the team to do better,” Coach Harris said. “They are so constant and have been a crucial aspect in motivating both our 4×4 and 4×2 relays to do well.”
With both the short and long distance runners feel that they have achieved success, the outdoor season is hoped to bring in more personal records and victory.