Track to compete at state May 12


Ritvika Kondakrindi will compete at the two-day track and field state competition at Mike A. Myers Stadium on May 12 in the 100 meter race, 400 meter race and shot put throw. (Photo provided by Kondakrindi)

Junior Ritvika Kondakrindi will compete at the two-day track and field state competition at Mike A. Myers Stadium located at the University of Texas in Austin May 12 from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“I’m super excited and happy that we have someone competing at the state championship,” coach Kelsey Ramirez said. “I’m anticipating lots of great competition and Ritvika getting an all-three-finish in all of her three respective events – she’s very deserving [of it].”

To get to state, athletes must be in the top two at regionals. Of the 12 regional qualifiers, Kondakrindi, a paralympic athlete, was the only student who advanced to state, placing second in the 400 and 100 meter races and third in shot put. At the state meet, Kondakrindi will compete in the seated shot put throw at 2:30 p.m., the 100 meter dash at 6:30 p.m. and the 400 meter dash at 7 p.m.

“My coaches have been working with me personally,” Kondakrindi said. “Some days [we did] sprint workouts, and [other] days I’ve been working on endurance [or doing] weights [to] build strength. I’m looking forward to seeing all the wheelchair athletes there [and] have some friendly competition with them. We’re all friends, so it’s just really fun to hang out with them.”

Looking back on the season, the coaches said it differed from their expectations. For one, stormy weather delayed track practice at the beginning of the year. It’s also both coaches’ first year at Hebron, and they said they struggled with bringing the team together.

“It’s always a challenge to bring athletes together in the same place at the same time for a common goal,” head coach Chance Edwards said. “We eventually got everybody on the same page, and everything started to [come] together. [Going into] the district championships, we had a pretty good idea of where everybody needed to be, and we ended up having a successful district meet because of that.”

Despite the rough start, the coaches said they saw growth as the season progressed. In districts, athletes placed in a variety of events. Varsity boys got third place, and junior varsity boys and girls got fifth place as teams. In total, 22 athletes qualified for the area meet.

“We have a lot of room to grow and improve,” Ramirez said. “We definitely [wanted] to see more people at the championships. Overall, coach Edwards [and I] saw a lot of good things. We saw a lot of improvement among the younger athletes. Alongside the athletic growth that we saw in their performances, we got to see a lot of leadership qualities grow in our older athletes.”

Coach Edwards said this season has been a learning experience, and moving forward, he wants to help athletes develop more skills during practice.

“The No. 1 thing that I learned is that we need to improve how we vary practices so that it fits every athlete [and] we can get a larger group to excel,” Edwards said. “I’m proud of the group and their hard work this season [and am] looking forward to continuing that hard work into the summer and the next season.”