by Chelsea Frisch & Madison Pena
Distance running, sprinting, and what else? Only yards away from the track at Gary Kehler Stadium is the discus and shot put circle, javelin field, jumpers’ sand pit and pole-vaulting apron.
As their spring season comes to a close, those participating in WHS field events, including throwing, jumping and pole vaulting, are walking away with several new school records. Yet they still struggle to gain equal recognition with their running teammates.
Regarding the team’s recent success, Spring Track Head Coach Christopher Tafelski said, “Historically, Westfield is not really known for field events, which makes it all the more impressive as they begin to make a name for themselves.”
Tafelski credits this success to the growing number of athletes taking an interest in the field events, as well as the specialized coaching staff.
Although there are not many people who throw, the numbers have been increasing. The success of the team has been almost immediate.
Some of these recent accomplishments include Keren Moncayo breaking the school record in javelin with a throw of 128 feet, 1 inch on May 12, along with Coston O’Brien, who became the first Westfield athlete to throw a 50-foot shot put in 12 years.
Despite the team’s growing size, the field athletes feel as though their achievements are not being represented.
Tafelski finds that it is especially difficult for the track and field athletes to feel like a unified team since the field events are physically separated from the rest of the team at practices and meets.
“We are on the verge of having our most successful season on both the boys and girls teams, [for field events]” said WHS sophomore thrower Sam Stravach. “I really don’t think anybody has any idea.”
WHS junior pole vaulter Niklas Birse added, “Not many people hear of field events and their achievements, or if they do, many don’t understand the accomplishments that they receive.”
Moncayo, a senior track and field captain and varsity thrower, received recognition when she broke the javelin record. Yet, she explained that she has at least five major accomplishments from her throwing season that have gone unrecognized.
Moncayo also feels that her teammates should be recognized for their own achievements considering many of the throwing events are relays. She said that most of her records stemmed from relay events, meaning that the other relay members contributed to the success of the team but have not been credited.
“The Westfield track and field team is known for its runners,” Moncayo said. “Most people don’t even say ‘track and field,’ they say ‘track.’ ”