Westchester girls savor state track breakthrough
The Westchester Country Day School girls set their sights on a pretty good finish at states. What they accomplished in winning the state NCISAA 1A/2A title, though, was beyond even their own expectations.
The Wildcats, who have improved as a team the last couple years but were realistically expecting a top-three finish, used three relay victories and several solid individual finishes to break through and win their first girls track and field state championship last weekend in Cary.
“I still haven’t slept actually,” senior Olivia Greeson said with a big smile Wednesday at the school. “I really have only gotten like two hours of sleep every night.”
“It was like it didn’t really feel real at first,” senior Leigh Tyson added. “It was sort of like a dream. Then, after a couple days, it started feeling more and more real, and I just keep getting more and more excited.”
At the heart of the championship were the three relay victories in the 4x200, the 4x400 and the 4x800, plus a second-place finish in the 4x100. In a stellar all-around performance, the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 all set school records.
Tyson, Greeson, Terra Johns and Montana Heinbach teamed in the 4x200; Johns, Tyson, Claire Councill and Abbi Khan in the 4x400; and Johns, Haleigh Breece, Councill and Avery Goho in the 4x800.
Seven girls — Heinbach, Khan, Johns, Tyson, Greeson, Councill and Oby Nwamu — earned all-state, as Heinbach (200), Khan (800), Johns (400), Greeson (long jump) and Councill (triple jump) finished top-three individually.
“Every single girl I think just did her best,” Greeson said.
“Everyone scored, except one girl,” added coach Tim Anderson. “That was the key. We knew we needed them to score in every event we put them in, and they did.”
In the end, the victory was the culmination of a lot of hard work during the offseason and season in preparing. More days of intense, new workouts, plus training sessions with the boys team, challenged them to be at their best.
“It was just a lot of hard work, a lot of intense workouts,” Tyson said. “... I think training with the boys, they go 100 percent every single day. So, we wanted to keep up with them.”
By winning its first-ever Triad Athletic Conference championship by 19 points over Caldwell, Westchester saw its confidence build. Into the state meet May 17 and 18 at Cary Christian, it knew it could perform well as a team.
The first day, the Wildcats won their first relay and advanced everyone to the finals. Then, the second day, they performed well throughout the finals. They heard only one scoring update midway through the day — tied.
It was only when the final results were announced, after all the individual awards were given, that they finally knew that they had won the team title by five points — the difference of one event, basically.
“We just looked at each other and just started freaking out,” Greeson said with a laugh. “There was a lot of screaming,” Anderson added. “A lot of jumping up and down,” Tyson said.
With their team title, as unexpected as it may have been, the Westchester girls, who will soon get their championship rings and team photo on the gym wall, now have earned their place in the school’s rich athletic history.
“It’s really awesome, especially for us because we’ve been running since we were like 12,” Tyson said of her and Greeson. “To see all those workouts for years and years and years pay off our senior year, it’s just awesome.”
“It’s definitely something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, for sure,” Anderson said. “Absolutely,” Greeson concluded.