Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda girl’s 4x4 relay team is really good. So good, in fact, that Lady Jacks coach Sean Kibrick has a loaded deck when it comes to the 4x4 relay team — six girls that are ready to blaze around the track whenever any one of their names are called.
The NT girl’s 4x4, ranked in the top six of Section VI and second-best during the indoor season, competes today, along with the entire NT track team, in the annual Niagara Frontier League championship meet.
Kibrick said that the Lady Jacks are starting to round into form at just the right time after several early-season injuries. Team captain Emily Pawlik pulled her hamstring in the first event of the team’s second meet, so other girls had to step up and fill in to help NT continue to compete.
Amanda Wildt, who dealt with her own early-season injury problems, erupted for the Lady Jacks upon her return. She won the 100 at Allegheny and went undefeated in the same race in the team’s first few meets, Kibrick said.
“Amanda is having a great season. She started out injured so she wasn’t able to get a ton of good workouts in at the beginning of the season, but started out competing and has been fantastic,” he said. “She has been running at the top of her game and probably could have won the 100 at Pioneer, but she had to take her SATs, so she came out when she was done and won the 200. That was pretty cool.”
Wildt rotates with Pawlik, Kelly Nichols, Madison Wawrzwynek, Courtney Crooks and first-year runner Gabby Hanson on the 4x4 relay team.
Today is the day Wildt and her teammates have been waiting for all season, and she is hoping all her hard work pays off.
“It’s great when we’re all doing well and working well together,” she said. “We push each other and we win as a team and lose as a team. It’s really good to have that support behind you and people that appreciate what you’re doing. I love the competition. You get to see where all your hard work has gotten you.”
While Wildt entered the season as one of the top runners for the girl’s team, Hanson, a senior standout on the volleyball team, is running track for the first time in her life.
Hanson didn’t know what to expect, but started to realize how much she enjoyed the sport shortly after the season began.
“Gabby is a first-year runner that’s come out of nowhere,” Kibrick said. “We noticed she looked good in practice one day doing 200’s so we put her in the 400 and she qualified for sectionals provisionally in her first race. She’s been our most consistently fast girl.”
Kibrick said that Hanson’s emergence has been especially important with all the injuries to the girl’s team. He said she has gotten better every day and her contributions this season have been huge.
Hanson likes competing on the relay team because she enjoys the team aspect of sports.
“Everyone on the team is so nice and they’ve helped me with parts of it that I didn’t know. Before I started I just thought track was running — (I didn’t know) how intense it really is. … I like the 4x4. You get that team feeling and it’s better than running by yourself. It’s like you’re running for your teammates.”
The NFL championship meet begins today at 3 p.m. at Lewiston-Porter High School.Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @TonaNewsSports.