Track and Field Prepares for a Competitive Week

    Nathan Alexander sprinting at the Lock Haven Invitational. Apr. 26, 2024
    Nathan Alexander sprinting at the Lock Haven Invitational. Apr. 26, 2024
    Macie Naberenzy

    State College Girls and Boys Track and Field is off to an incredible season and is busy preparing for a competitive next week with Mid Penn and District competitions.

    Head coach Artie Wilkes has been coaching track and field for over twenty-four years. This season is Wilkes’ tenth year at State High and seventh year as head coach. Wilkes has led the team to a 7-2 record for the boys and a 6-3 record for the girls.

    “It’s been a good season, also a tumultuous season,” said Wilkes. “We’ve had a lot of issues with weather and meets being canceled, but the kids have continued on their own task; we’re down to the championship season, and they adjust accordingly.”

    In his first year as head coach, Wilkes introduced his motto, “Always be closing,” more commonly known to the team as ABC. “It kind of doesn’t matter what happens as long as you have the ability, the wherewithal to close in, close the object out. Whether you’re winning or losing, as long as you’re putting forth the effort to close it down, the coaches will be proud of the kids, and the kids will walk away with a sense of accomplishment,” Wilkes said.

    ABC has been a major theme throughout State College’s entire season and now more than ever. On Saturday, May 11, the State College Track and Field team competed at Chambersburg Area High School for their chance to take home a Mid Penn title. Three days later, Tuesday, May 14, marks the first day of districts.

    Abigail Bigger competed in a distance event at the Lock Haven Invitational. Apr. 26, 2024. Photo courtesy of Joe Lipski.

    “I’m feeling good. I’m ready,” said Abigail Bigger, a senior captain for the Little Lions. “I think we are looking pretty good [going into the postseason]. We have been dealing with some team injuries, which is always hard, but people have been doing their best to take care of themselves so we can be ready for all competition.”

    Bigger joined the team her freshman year and has been running distance ever since. On Tuesday, she will compete in at least the 4×800 event at districts for a chance to qualify for States. Upon graduation, She plans to attend Brigham Young University for the fall semester and then complete an 18-month mission for her church.

    Bigger added, “For anybody interested, I would say just give it a try, just do it, there’s something for everybody on the track team. That’s what is so great about it, you can run, you can jump, you can pole vault, you know, it’s cool there’s lots of different opportunities. So just give it a try.”

    Nathan Alexander, another State High senior, has also been running track since his freshman year. Alexander competes in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 4×100 relay, 4×400 relay. “I think [the season has] been pretty good. I think it was a slow start, but I think we’re looking good for states, and we have a good chance at getting a trophy,” Alexander said.

    He has had a very successful senior season and will be competing at districts this Tuesday for the chance to qualify for states. “I’m hoping to make States for the 100 meter. Our 4×100 should make it; we have one of the best in the state. Also, the 200 meter, I’d like to make that. I’ve been very happy about [my performance] so far,” Alexander said.

    Nathan Alexander posing with his spikes for Track and Field Media Day 2024. Apr. 23, 2024. Photo by Ellory Potter.

    Alexander also wanted to highlight the guidance of his sprint coach, Coach Jackson. “He’s really helped me. I think one of the big things he does is he focuses on every single person, even if they’re the slowest on the team.”

    “In the beginning, I wasn’t one of the fastest, but I think he’s one of the smartest track coaches in Pennsylvania, especially for sprints. I think he’s really helped me to get to where I am today,” Alexander said.

    “I’d say one thing is you can join no matter how athletic you are. No matter how strong, fast, or how high you can jump, there’s no cuts, anyone can make the team. Even if you’re the slowest at the beginning, you can eventually become the fastest. If you throw the shortest, you can eventually throw the farthest through hard work,” said Alexander.

    Wilkes explained how proud he was of his seniors this year. “Before the pandemic […] we had outspoken seniors, but this year’s senior class is a lead-by-example type of group,” Wilkes said. They’ve led us this far and they’re leading us into the postseason, they’re getting the job done.”

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to Lions' Digest
    $185
    $550
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists of State College Area High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to Lions' Digest
    $185
    $550
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Comments (0)

    All Lions' Digest Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *