On Your Mark! Whale Branch Boys and Girls Track & Field

story by CINDY REID     photos by SUSAN DELOACH

     “Track & Field” includes many sporting events and according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, it is the fastest growing high school sport. Results from the 2015-16 annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFSHSA, show track and field participation for both girls and boys increased at the largest rate among high school sports. It is the most popular high school sport for girls and second for boys behind football.

Whale Branch Early College HS
     Whale Branch Early College High School track and field Coach Brad Taracuk is looking forward to an exciting year for the school’s boys and girls track and field teams. He says, “This year is a whole new thing because we are in a new region which means we have different teams to compete against.”
     The South Carolina High School League conducts school realignment every two years. The athletic program at Whale Branch Early College High School is now classified as a Class AA Region 5. The Region 5 schools are Allendale-Fairfax, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Barnwell, Whale Branch and Woodland.
     Coach Taracuk says, “We have a lot of girls returning to the Lady Warriors team so we are starting off strong this year. The girls are strong in sprints, they are good in hurdles and in the long jump.”
As for the boy’s team, he says “We are in a big rebuilding year. We are strong in hurdles, long jump and in the 110 meter and the 400 meter.”
     The season is getting underway and the teams’ first competitive meet is against hometown rival Beaufort High School on March 6. Coach Taracuk says, “It’s an exciting year and we have strong teams so come on out and support the school!”


For Your Information….
     Track and field is the overall name for various events which running, jumping, and throwing. There are many running events which are grouped under short distance (sprints), middle distance and long distance. The jumping events include long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault, while the most common throwing events are shot put, javelin, discus and hammer. The track events are the running events that race on the track while the field events take place in the open oval formed by the track, called the infield.

Distance Races
     There are generally three different sprint distances: 100m, 200m, and 400m. The middle distance races are the 800m, the 1500m, and the 1 mile long runs. There are three main long distance races: the 3000m, the 5000m, and the 10,000m races.

     A hurdles race is one in which obstacles are placed at intervals along the track that the runners must jump over on their way the finish line. Typical hurdle races are the 100m and 400m for women and 110m and 400m for men.

     Relay races are where teams of runners compete against each other. There are typically 4 runners and 4 legs to the race. Common relay races are the 4x100m and the 4x400m.

Jumping Events
     In the high jump event, the athlete gets a running start and must jump over a bar without knocking it over. The long jump is an event in which competitors jump as far as possible along the ground in one leap. The triple jump is similar to the long jump, but there are three combined jumps that go into the total length. These are called the hop, the step, and the jump.
In the pole vault, the athlete runs down the track holding a pole and then propel themselves up and over a high bar. They must get over the bar without knocking it off.

Throwing Events
     The throwing events consist of shot put, javelin, discus and hammer. The point of the game in all of the throwing events is distance. The farthest throw wins. Shot Put is a competition is to see who can put the shot, which is a steel ball, the farthest. High schools usually use 12 pound (5.44 kg) shots for boys and 4 kg shots for girls. Not every high school competes in the other throwing events, it varies by region.
     Track and Field is an exciting sport and is a lot of fun to watch so come out and support the hard-working student athletes at the many competitive meets coming up this spring!