Passing the baton

The GlenOak A-Teams for the girls’ 4×400 and 4×800 relays find success this season
Senior Nora Salem runs the 4x800 relay at Jackson
Senior Nora Salem runs the 4×800 relay at Jackson
Lily Hoza

Sprinters and distance runners alike warm up on the football field. Long jump, high jump and pole vault take place in surrounding areas, all while the throwers compete across the street. Track is a sport that boasts a vast array of opportunities for success for its athletes and teams. This season, the GlenOak Girls’ Track Team has found extreme success in two individual events: the 4×400 and 4×800 relays. 

After winning the girls’ 4×400 and 4×800 relay races at nearly every single meet this year (view results for the whole team here), the girls on the A-Team are proving themselves to be star players of GlenOak’s team. 

The relay 4×400 and 4×800 teams have varied throughout the season,

at times including freshmen Angelina Pyle and Mila Butosov and sophomores Hannah Pace, Eve Meyer and Sophia Krosse. Generally, the team of four for each race includes some combination of sophomore Gia Tzouloufis, juniors Addie Hamm, Sydney Stepanovich, Sophie Ngetich and seniors Jada Ames, Nora Salem and Katie Esporite. 

“It’s really competitive for spots in the 4×400 and even more for the 4×800,” Ngetich said. 

A strong incentive for the girls to continue working hard and improving is the competition to get on and stay on the relay teams. 

“I think that running in a relay improves your running overall,” Ngetich said. “It makes you run faster because people are always fighting for spots and you want to keep yours.” 

Tzouloufis has had a similar experience in these events and has even created a name for the phenomenon. 

“We call it ‘the relay effect,’” Tzouloufis said. “It’s like as soon as you get a baton in your hand you just run so much faster.”

“We call it ‘the relay effect, it’s like as soon as you get a baton in your hand you just run so much faster,”

— Gia Tzouloufis

Hamm speaks not only to the supposed ‘relay effect,’ but also to how running as a team pushes you further. 

“You don’t want to let your other teammates down by having the slowest time, so you just go as fast as you possibly can,” Hamm said. 

Not only do the girls find that running in these relays benefits them when they run the same distance individually, but the work is also reflected elsewhere. 

“I feel like from running in the 4×400, I’ve gotten a lot better at the 800,” Hamm said. 

Despite the two races being coached by different people (the 4×400 by head track coach Scott Ferrell and the 4×800 by head girls’ distance coach Elizabeth Winkler), they both have one thing on their minds at practices: handoffs. 

A handoff is when one runner hands the baton to the next runner to complete their portion of the relay. While it sounds quite simple, the actual execution is anything but. A handoff can make or break a race. 

“At practice, both coaches really drill handoffs so that we have them smooth for the next meet,” Tzouloufis said. 

This one seemingly small aspect is so important to the teams’ success that two days at practices each week are spent on handoffs. 

“For the 4×400 and the 4×800, we do handoffs every Friday and Monday and we spend a lot of time on them,” Ngetich said. 

The competition, the ‘relay effect’ and the results-driven practices have all culminated in a winning and record-breaking relay teams for GlenOak Track and Field.

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Lily Hoza
Lily Hoza, Staff Writer
Lily Hoza (she/they) is a sophomore, this is their second year on staff. They're also involved in debate, drama, and concert choir and love to debate, sing, and act. A fun fact is that they are the lead in this year's fall play!
Bailey Nice
Bailey Nice, Staff Writer
Bailey Nice (she, her) is a sophomore at Glenoak this year. This will be her first year on staff. Bailey is involved in track and field, softball, and basketball. Outside of school, Bailey enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends and playing with her younger siblings outside.
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