The Student News Site of Hickman High School

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The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

Hickman track is ready for the title

Evan Diblasi (12) running across Hickman football field for a track workout.
Ryan Renoe
Evan Diblasi (12) running across Hickman football field for a track workout.

It’s a cold winter Wednesday in the middle of December, and Hickman High School students just finished school. For a lot of students, that’s the end of their day, but for the approximately 150 students who go out for track, they have preseason practices.


Stewart Johnson has been head coach of the Hickman Track and Field team for 11 years and has enjoyed many successes. 


“We’ve set a number of school records. In the last five years, we’ve set like 14 school records in our girls and boys programs combined. So I’d like to say that we’re on an upward trajectory. And we’re only getting better,” Johnson said.                                                                                   


The girls’ team last year, going into the last couple events, was in a position to place on the podium at  State, they would eventually place tenth. On the other hand, the boys’ team’s best performance in the past few years was in 2021, when they were four points away from winning the title, but finished in fourth place. 


“We have fun. That’s the major thing. Our practices are a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “They’re quick, they’re fast. We’re in there, out of there.”


At practice, the team participates in a lot of competitions. They like to record, rank, and then compare their times to previous results and against teammates. 


“What motivates me is trying to motivate other people. It’s more like trying to help others rather than me trying to help myself,” senior Morgyn Smith explained. 


Morgyn started track in middle school, where she first experienced success. Morgyn was all-state last year. As team captain, Morgyn is part of a 12-person leadership committee made up of the most talented and positive athletes on the team. 


Hickman track is a team-led sport. Morgyn said coaches let the captains decide the goals for the year and support the captains in achieving said goals.


Morgyn said her goal is to take first in State in the 4x200m relay with her team.


When asked what was the biggest factor that would contribute to the track team’s success, Morgyn had this to say: “Team chemistry is a big factor in how a team does and how you bounce back from a bad meet.”


Morgyn plans to keep a positive mindset and use any poor performances as motivation and as a learning experience. According to Morgyn, the coaching staff is supportive of all of their athletes and they do a great job of crafting a supportive environment that celebrates the highs and learns from the lows of competition to better themselves for the next year.


With spring fast approaching, Morgyn is taking this season seriously, but she’s not forgetting to have fun. 


“Just take it serious, but not too serious because it’s supposed to be fun,” Sean Keys, a senior, said when asked about what he would tell his freshman self. 


Sean has been a part of the Hickman track program for three years, this will be his fourth. In his time here, he has been both a cross country and track athlete, qualifying for state in both sports, his best event in track being the 800-meter run. 


“Supporting the team and being there for your teammates, that’s the most important part, and that’s what really makes it fun,” Sean said about what being a Hickman athlete means to him. 


“I love to compete, for me reaching a goal is the best thing I can do,” senior Zach Wright said. 

Zach is a captain this year as well as a member of the same leadership council as Morgyn. 


According to Zach, the team aims to win at state this year. Last year, the Hickman varsity relay 4×200 team made it to state and placed third. Zach hopes to return this year and win state.


Zach has been preparing for this season since the summer when he ran for the AAU track club, Blue Thunder.


He is planning to run a few indoor meets before the high school season starts “so hopefully I’ll have some success there and be ready to win state.” 


In addition to participating in club track outside of the regular season, Zach keeps to a strict schedule and workout routine. Twice a week, Zach is participating in preseason sprints with his team. When he is not running, Zach likes to focus on other key aspects of being a fit runner such as plyometrics, which he tries to get in twice a week as well as lifting weights once a week.


Zach put a major emphasis on the importance of being as mentally fit as you are physically. 


Zach said over the summer he experienced burnout causing him to take a step back from track for a brief period. Zach credits this break from track for getting him out of his slump and relighting his fire and love for the sport.


“Mental is huge,” Zach said. 


Zach believes his team has what it takes to take state this year.


With spring right around the corner, one thing is clear, Hickman is dangerous this year.

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