The Emmaus girls 4×800 team qualified for states with a first-place finish at districts on a scorching hot day to push through and run one of their best times of the season.
The relay team is composed of senior Kera Reinhard, who is committed to Bucknell to study mathematics, senior Ashleigh McNellis, who will attend St. Joseph’s University to study accounting and mathematics, senior Keerstin Augustin, who will continue her academic studies at Charleston Southern University to study nursing, and sophomore Hailey Reinhard, who is only in her second season with the Emmaus track and field team. All three seniors will continue to run at their respective schools.
The girls 4×800 team looks to end out the year on a high note at their upcoming state competitions in Shippensburg this weekend where competition will be tough.
Stinger: How has this season been with COVID-19 compared to past seasons?
McNellis: This season has been completely different. We have had limited capacities at our meets, only racing one other school per meet, less practice times, and even running in masks. I think that it has definitely taught us to appreciate things more and not take it all for granted. Everything has been kept in perspective that we are still being successful, even with everything else going on.
Stinger: What has been your highlight of the season so far?
McNellis: Going to states has been the best highlight of the season. This is my first year on the 4×800, so going to states my first year in this event is really cool. But for the other seniors, they have just missed states for two or three years, so finally getting to go is going to be super exciting.
Stinger: What makes the 4×800 special compared to other track events?
McNellis: It is not a super fast event. It is a longer event compared to the 4×100 or the sprinting events. It is still just as intense throughout the whole race, because it can be anyone’s race at any time. It takes technique, focus, and time while being super competitive.
Stinger: What is one struggle that the team has come across this seasons?
K. Reinhard: The starting and stopping, because we did have one little break due to COVID-19. We had to race with masks on for a short time, which was definitely a struggle. In the end, I think it made us all better.
Stinger: Can you describe the importance of the bond between you and your relay teammates?
K. Reinhard: We are all close friends on and off the track, so we all want the best for each other. We are all always training together and pushing each other and that bond is something that has helped us a lot. We do these little runs, called ladder runs, where we are always cheering and supporting each other.
Stinger: What is your favorite thing about running the 4×800?
K. Reinhard: The hype and energy surrounding the event. When you get up to that line, you are not just racing for yourself, you are racing for your team as well. It just motivates you even more to do your best.
Stinger: What do you think is the leading cause of success for the 4×800 team?
Augustin: We are all hard workers on our own. We were pushing very hard in the offseason and we all came together and started to support each other. It all came together and we all enjoyed running together.
Stinger: What are your expectations going into states?
Augustin: I know it is going to be close between us and maybe nine other teams. I think that we can medal, and hope that we get out of the meet placing well.
Stinger: What is your advice to future Emmaus runners?
Augustin: Use every opportunity and give it your all. You never know what is going to happen whether it is going to be a workout day or a distance run. It is best just to give everything you have at the moment.
Stinger: How is it being the youngest member of the 4×800 team?
H. Reinhard: It is surprising that being a sophomore it does not have that big of an impact. I am just glad that I could help the seniors get to states this season, as they have come so close in the past few years.
Stinger: How is running the 4×800 different from running a single runner event?
H. Reinhard: It is more pressure, but then you are also more hyped up for the race. The team aspect is what really separates it as it adds more to think about when running.
Stinger: What do you see in the future of the 4×800 team?
H. Reinhard: I am hoping that we can continue the success that we have rolling, and get to states again in the future.