Comets indoor athletes: 2 at nationals, 10 at state

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Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times
Ten outstanding Comets indoor track and field team members traveled this weekend to Spire for the state meet.

JASON HAWK
EDITOR

Comets senior Jaret Prete and Taylor Hooks are in New York this week for the 2019 New Balance Nationals Indoor.

They led 10 Amherst student-athletes this weekend to the Ohio indoor track and field state competition at Spire.

Prete finished fourth in the weight throw with a distance of 65 feet 4 inches and set a personal record for 13th in the shot put with a throw of 48 feet 8 1/4 inches.

Hooks placed fourth in the state in the 60-meter race with a time of 7.6 seconds and sixth in the 200 meters with a time of 25.24 seconds, breaking her own school records.

“We’ve been practicing for a very long time,” Prete said Friday before departing for competition. “In the weight room, at least with the mentality of the people I work out with, every single rep you do is focused on getting here. Every step you take, every meal you eat, every hour of sleep you get is working toward this point.”

Sending an army of 10 to the state meet “is just tradition at this point,” Prete said.

Coach Rob Glatz said there’s more to the story: This year, Amherst joined the Northeast Ohio Indoor Track and Field Conference, traveling to Spire to run, leap, and throw in a world-class facility against teams the Comets would see at the district, regional, and state levels.

Teammates also read the book “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon, which preaches 10 “secrets” for approaching life with a positive attitude.

“We took those 10 steps to success and implemented them in our program,” Glatz said. “We took the bus out to Spire and engaged in team-building activities and I think it’s brought our track and field team closer together than ever before… Positive energy is contagious. We’ve progressed through our entire season to be here.”

The spring track and field season is underway this week but Prete and Hooks will get a delayed start due to their New York trip.

For Prete, it’s the second time heading to nationals.

“It’s loud. It’s chaotic. Everybody’s looking at you. It’s the best place, the highest stakes there are at this point,” he told us.

In some ways, the trips to state and nationals are bittersweet, said Glatz, because Prete, Hooks, and other seniors will be leaving the Comets after graduation.

“They have left a legacy of success, hard work, and determination that will be emulated by future generations. I think that’s one of the most special things about our program — that we have such a strong tradition because we have been every year who put 100 percent into it,” he said.

Prete plans to throw next year for the Air Force Academy.

“I want to impress the coach there and I want to impress all the other coaches who are watching me and make Amherst proud,” he said.

But he told us his proudest accomplishment isn’t on the field — it’s earning Eagle Scout status. Prete said Boy Scout training made him a better team captain. “I lead with my actions more than my words,” he said. “I learned a long time ago that you can’t talk — you have to do it.”

OTHER STATE MEET RESULTS
• Caleb Stempowski tied for fifth in the high jump with a personal best, 6 feet 4 inches.
• Sydney Walker finished 14th in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet 6 inches.
• Tori Kubasak finished 21st in the 400-meter race with a personal record of 1:01.25.
• The 4×800 relay team of Kayln Potyrala, Victoria Bailey, Kayla Snowden, and Marisa Del Valle finished 20th with a personal record of 9:57.07.
• The 4×400 relay team of Victoria Bailey, Tori Kubasak, Kayla Snowden, and Taylor Hooks finished 21st with a time of 4:18.31.