Thursday, July 18, 2024

Hawken loaded with potential

Hawken’s track teams opened the season on Saturday with a strong finish at Cardinal’s Bill Fisher Invitational.

The Hawks edged Madison for the girls’ team title and finished second to University School in the boys’ competition.

“It has been an incredible first three months at Hawken, with significant improvement by all athletes across the board,” said Hawken coach Kim Curtis. “With that come great expectations in the coming season. Springing off our trip to the indoor national finals, we have set some lofty internal goals, both as teams as well as in individual performances, with opportunities for both of our teams as well as a number of individual athletes. We are looking to be a presence at states this year.”

Hawken returns a number of athletes with state experience including Makayla White, Leila Metres, Rosie Murray, Jordan Harrison, Samuel Pan, Destynn Keuchel, and Andrew Bukovnik.

White placed second in the 200-meter dash and fourth in the 100. She also qualified with Metres and Murray in the 4×400-meter relay. Metres also was a qualifier in the 4×800. Harrison qualified in the 100-meter dash and teamed up with Pan, Keuchel, and Bukovnik to place fifth in the 4×100.

“In looking at our rosters for both girls and boys, this has the makings of being a special year at Hawken,” Curtis said. “There has already been incredible growth and complete buy-in on a development plan designed to make some noise at states. The girls’ team is relatively young and eager to dive into our training philosophy and, while they have less experience in competition, I fully expect them to have a strong showing this year. As for our boys’ team, it has a strong senior presence. The sprint squad should make the podium in the open 100 and 200, with relays looking to finish strong. Our distance group returns strength in the 1600 and multiple strong runners for the 4×8 and 3200.”

White opened the season with wins at Cardinal in the 200 (26.48) and the 4×400-meter relay. She teamed up with Metres, Murray, and Lorelai Goedecke to finish that race in 4:23.27.

“Makayla White will have a memorable year as her swan song before she departs to start her next chapter in track and field at Yale University,” Curtis said.

In addition to her win the 4×400, Metres also won the 400 (59.60) and placed second to White in the 200 (27.18).

“Leila Metres had spectacular results for a young runner debuting in her first open 400 for Hawken, finishing the indoor state meet in fifth place,” Curtis said. “This is just the beginning and we can’t wait to see her reach her full potential this year.”

Murray scored in two events at Cardinal. She finished third in the 300-meter hurdles (52.72) and fifth in the 100 hurdles (18.61).

Harrison, who has committed to compete at Amherst College, kicked off the season with a win in the 200 (22.75) and a second-place finish in the 4×100-meter relay. He teamed up with Pan, Bukovnik, and Christian Anderson to finish that race in 43.72 seconds.

“Jordan Harrison has had a phenomenal start to his season with excellent results at the indoor state championships as well as competing at the 2022 New Balance Indoor National Meet in the 60-meter championship division,” Curtis said. “We have great expectations for Jordan to compete in additional events this year; watch out.”

Pan placed sixth at Cardinal in the 100-meter dash (12.11) and third in the 4×200-meter relay. He teamed up with Keuchel, Bukovnik, and Dominic Johnson to finish that event in 1:34.89.

Bukovnik and Keuchel also scored in the 4×400-meter relay. Daniel Van Heeckeren and Ben Falkck-Ytter also competed in that event, in which Hawken finished in 3:53.23.

Other Hawken athletes to win individual events at Cardinal included Brielle Collins (1600, 3200), Anderson (100), Sam Cohen (3200), and the boys’ 4×800-meter relay team.

Anderson and Garcia-Whitko both will be counted on heavily this spring.

“Nicholas Garcia-Whitko is coming off a ninth-place finish in the cross country state championships and we are excited to see this translate on the track,” Curtis said. “Christian Anderson is looking forward to a healthy year where he can showcase his tremendous talent. At the indoor state championship in the 60-meter and a semifinalist in the New Balance Indoor Championship Division for the 60, he’s proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the short sprints.”

While the Hawks have lofty goals, Curtis is focused on ensuring each athlete reaches his or her own potential while enjoying their time on the track.

“If nothing else, my hope is to cultivate a team atmosphere where these athletes have fun and create lasting memories,” Curtis said. “That is happening, but I also want to highlight how open and hungry they are. They are meeting the challenge of creating a lasting legacy at Hawken. How that translates is yet to be seen, but I know they will work hard and I trust them to train and do their best.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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