The State Qualifiers Meet with a Highlight on Alex Dec

By Olivia Canter

On Sunday, February 23rd, Byram Hills’ top track and field athletes competed in the fierce yet exciting State Qualifiers Meet. As each athlete stepped onto the Armory Track, a myriad of emotions swarmed their mind and body. Nerves escalated like a rollercoaster, causing the athletes’ hearts to beat faster than their legs could ever take them. They had been training for this moment all season. However, a sense of nostalgia also streamed through the atmosphere, as for most, this would be their last competition of the Indoor Track Season. 

In order to qualify for the State Qualifiers Meet, each athlete must attain a certain ranking. Runners must be in the top 32 and field athletes must be in the top 15 in their event of their New York State Section. Byram Hills is part of Section One, which comprises the counties of Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester. If an athlete places in the top two of their event, or hits the qualifying standard in third place, then they go on to the esteemed New York State Meet. Junior Alexa Jindal highlights the spectacular speed at the meet with “the best running talent in the county.” 

Junior Alex Dec, an experienced pole-vaulter, placed second at this competitive meet with the BHHS school record, and thus, will be moving onto the impressive New York State Meet. Dec describes the significant moment, one that he will remember the rest of his life, while his teammates were clapping him on: “I was really pumped up from my previous jump at 13’ 6’’ as I got on the runway. I took the jump, and I got over the bar. I was falling and shaking a little bit. I didn’t think the bar was going to stay up, but it did.” 

Once Dec realized that he made the difficult jump, he explains that “it didn’t seem real. It was like a pinch-yourself moment. I was so excited to have the school record.  It was a 30-year-old record, so I was always looking at it, but now that I have the record it is a cool feeling.” Yet, it must be noted that getting over the bar was no easy task; Dec had been training all season to clear this towering height. 

Dec elaborates on the intensive practice that goes into this highly skilled and strenuous field event: “It is a lot of work with the pole and walking and dropping it at the right time. It is all about timing. You want to work on planting with proper technique, and you also want to get your steps down.” Thus, when Dec finally saw the results he had hoped for, all of his hard work made the moment all the sweeter. 

Senior Ella Manners, current Bobcat of the Month and captain of Indoor Track, also explains the focused training that goes into her event: “It’s cool to see all the training I do, which I realized in that last race. My team and I work super hard together, so it’s very rewarding to have all finished the season the way we did.” In addition, Ella reminisced about the meet, stating “it was very surreal to see my four years of winter track come to an end at State Qualifiers with my last 55-hurdle race.” Ella had a strong passion for the 55-hurdles, as it was her favorite event, and she is the second fastest girl in BHHS history to ever run this speedy event! 

Overall, the thrilling meet reinforced the camaraderie of the Track and Field team. Junior Emma Trembone describes this great team spirit, where “It really brought the team together. I had such a good time watching and cheering on my teammates.” Congratulations to the Winter Track team!