This season was supposed to be a special one for the Red Rams girls track team. Led by a group of seniors that dominated their individual events, they had a chance to compete for leagues and sectionals, and even further for some of the brightest stars.
There is a lot of talent in the class of 2020. According to Head Coach Jim Lawton, they were the strongest group on the team. Some of the highest performing members of the team were Rainer Yaeger in the jumping events, Tasha Bazile in the high jump and sprints, Eva Wisniewski in the pole vault, Monica Hernandez-Olivera in the hurdles, and Janna VanVranken in the 4 x 400 relay.
Coach Lawton thought that this year, his 50th track season at Jamesville-DeWitt, the team would be competing for league and sectional titles.
Some members of the team would likely have gone further than that. Senior Tasha Bazile automatically qualified for states last year, and she had a good chance to compete at the state meet again.
This group of seniors was filled not just with talent, but leadership and friendship. As senior Janna VanVranken describes it, “We were a very bonded, close-knit group.”
Their teammates appreciated what the class of 2020 did to help them out. “All the seniors are amazing and everyone feels welcome on the team. They were always there to help out underclassmen and give them tips,” said sophomore Rebecca Kassis.
What the seniors miss most is the chance to just be with the team and compete in their final season. For example, what Bazile wanted most was “to have my Senior Night and rock that J-D uniform one last time.” Senior distance runner Katie Sizing added, “All the seniors were really excited for their final high school sports season and to achieve their goals they’ve been working towards.”
While the season is officially cancelled, the team has been keeping in touch as much as possible. The coaches have been giving athletes workout ideas and positive messages, and athletes can reach out if they need help.
Now, Coach Lawton and the rest of the team has to begin to prepare for what next year will bring. The impressive accomplishments and leadership of the current seniors will be difficult to match. Current juniors and sophomores will have to step up into new roles, and freshmen will need help adjusting to high school athletics. Still, Lawton isn’t worried about the transition. “I think next year’s team will be an exciting group.” This year’s seniors are also confident in the program that they’re leaving behind. “We have a strong senior class,” said senior Rainer Yaeger, “and quite a few underclassmen who have a lot of potential to improve.”
Bazile summed up the contributions of the class of 2020 best: “This year’s class will be a tough act to follow.”
Links to the other spring sport team profiles can be found below.