Most track athletes know the difference between a dual meet and an invitational. At a dual meet you can mostly rely on leftover snacks from your lunch to tide you over until the meet’s over, but at an invitational you better bring food or you’ll be begging your friends for concession stand money. At a dual meet, you don’t need to bother warming down between running events. You finish running the 4×800 meter relay and basically ten minutes later you’re on the track again for that one-miler. At an invitational, there are so many schools and so many heats that you can finish the relay, buy some food, eat some food, play some frisbee, walk around aimlessly, cheer on your teammates, go to the bathroom one or two or ten times depending on how much you drank, and then still have a little spare time to warm up before your mile. Ledyard Relays is the exception to this rule.
Ledyard Relays, held May 29 to 30, is the only invitational held at Ledyard and the invitational experience is quite different on the home track. This year 17 schools came to participate in the array of events that Ledyard offered. What makes Ledyard Relays so different from other invite meets is that Ledyard Relays is mostly only relays, with a few exceptions, such as the 5K. Although it may be unusual and some of the events, such as the beloved 4×1600 (four runners all run roughly a mile) are totally made up, Ledyard Relays promotes a feeling of team unity that isn’t always there at other meets.
“It’s more of a team-based thing,” junior Katie Hayes said. In an individual event, if you run slow, you lose, but on a relay, one person may run slow, one person may run fast, one person may feel a little nauseous from all that food they ate, and one person may have forgotten they were running and still has their sweatpants on. In a relay, it’s not just about how you run.
“Coach Pasta’s commentating is also a special thing to hear while running,” sophomore Pete Geoly said. Coach José “Pasta” Sanabria commentates the meet every year, announcing not only who placed in what event, but also providing a detailed instant-by-instant coverage of what’s happening on the track, which isn’t something you find at all meets. Or any for that matter.
“You can’t find that type of uniqueness anywhere else on this side of Connecticut,” senior Mikey Campbell said.
For the first time in years, the sun was shining as 18 schools’ teams stretched and warmed up on the Ledyard track for this once-a-year event. The runners’ lined up on the track, batons in hand, the gun went off, and they ran.
Alex Houdeshell, Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Horizons
Junior Alex Houdeshell is the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the 2015-2016 Horizons Yearbook. She is the president of Operation Smile and participates in Cupcakes for Causes. She is on the soccer team and she runs Indoor Track and Track and Field.