Track & Field News

Clinton Relays Trending Again
3/9/13    Herald & Review – Decatur, IL
Becca Anderson was convinced she wasn’t going to follow in her older sister Rachel’s footsteps, be coached by her dad and spend each spring running track.  She’d already suffered enough by hanging around plenty of track events growing up.  “I thought, ‘I’m so sick of this. They just run, how can it be exciting? I don’t understand,’ ” Anderson said.
But once she found out she might have some talent in short sprints, Anderson started to come around to the idea.  “So the story goes, she went to try out for basketball, and she came back from practice and asked, ‘You know what suicides are?’ ” said Randy Anderson, Clinton’s track coach and Becca’s father, “What do you think the reaction was from a track coach?” Anderson said.
It was fortunate she took a liking, as Becca is now the anchor of Clinton’s 4×100 and 4×200-meter relays that have made the Maroons a force state-wide. Anderson said the relay team, which includes Erin West, Jade Thomas and Morgan Witzke and won the race at the Okaw Conference Meet last week, has the second-fastest 4×200 time in the state, only behind Erie.  It’s a resurgence for Clinton, which has had quality relay teams in the past.  Thomas has been a part of it since her freshman year, but there’s still mixed feelings about the next two weeks.  “Well, I have confidence, but I also have nerves — anything can go wrong. I’m trying to stay positive,” Thomas said. The “anything can go wrong” part is something Clinton knows all too well. In the indoor season, the Maroons’ 4×200 team was the top-ranked squad, but after an errant leg from an opponent caught a Clinton runner, both went tumbling to the ground along with hopes of winning the meet.  It was hard to swallow, considering the changes in how the entire team approached the relays, including seriously training at Bloomington Sports Enhancement this past off-season for the first time.  “It helped my strength and my endurance,” West said. “That’s what I think helped the most, because last year I had no training at all. Right when I started track, I was exhausted during the warm-up laps.”
West, the relay leader, now has put up impressive individual times in the 200 as well. It’s where she feels most comfortable, and where she can get the most out of herself. “I feel like in the 100, my speed isn’t all the way to the max and I just stop,” West said. “But in the 200, I feel like I can keep running and by the end of my race, that’s my max speed.”  That’s basically a mirror of how Thomas runs as well. Thomas, like Anderson, has family track ties as her father holds records in Clinton.   “The last part of my race is always the fastest,” Thomas said. “So in the 100, I start off and the last 50 meters is the best part. It’s like the first 50 meters doesn’t count.”
They relay teams have had plenty of competition to build them up along the way. Besides competing with other top teams at the indoor track meet, Randy Anderson said having the luxury of racing in the Okaw Valley Conference is invaluable.  “We have some incredible athletes in our conference. Just winning a relay is great,” Anderson said. “I’ve told the girls, ‘It’s tougher to compete at Okaw than it is at state.’ It’s a tough, tough conference. I’m going to be very sad when that conference breaks up, just because of all the history that is there.”
Now the Maroons have to keep it going. Clinton’s best of 1.46.10 would be right in line for fourth place at Class 1A state last year. With that time, it’s hard to not have grand dreams, and Randy Anderson said he has to remind himself to focus at the next task.  “I’m hoping all of my kids, including me, will focus on sectionals because nothing’s guaranteed,” Anderson said.
For Becca Anderson, that family history might have weighed a little heavy at first, but she said she thankful to have them to help guide her path. Now she’ll have a chance to replicate some
of Clinton’s success in 2004 when Rachel made her own mark.
“When I first started, I thought it was stressful because expectations are high,” Anderson said. “My sister’s been an example for me, and my dad has been so helpful. I’m really glad I have them.”

Clinton HS Girls Track Team Shatters Records Again!

The Clinton Girls Track Team is only three indoor meets into the 2012 track season, and it’s clear they are going to leave their mark. Head coach, Randy Anderson, says that this is the most depth in one team that Clinton has ever had! This statement is solidified easily by looking at the results from the Clinton Last Chance Meet, held at Illinois Wesleyan University this past Monday . The team would like to thank the many parents and community volunteers who helped make this meet a huge success! Including Clinton principal, Ron Connor, who was given an award from the team for his dedication to IHSA and Clinton sports for the past 18 years. The meet was Clinton’s first time hosting an indoor meet, and 18 teams were invited, including several conference schools and other tough area teams!

There were several highlights to be noted throughout the meet, including sprint relays, distance runs, and throws. One of the most exciting races of the evening was the 4x200m relay. Clinton came into the meet ranked second behind St. Teresa of Decatur, and it was truly an awesome race with much effort from both squads. Coach Anderson says, “It was so fun to watch our girls really dig down deep and win such a close battle like that!”. The Clinton team of Erin West, Ally Lawson, Morgan Witzke, and Becca Anderson, won the event breaking the indoor 4x200m relay record for the third time this season with a time of 1:53.37. Coach Rachel Lyons, anchor leg of the 2003 relay team that had previously held this record says, “It is much more rewarding to coach a team that sets a new record than earning it by running. I am so proud of these girls and their hard work”. Freshman sprinter, Becca Anderson, placed fourth in the 55m dash with another record indoor time of 7.80. Senior Amber Miller put her name in the record books as well this past Monday by breaking the indoor 400m record that had been previously set by high school standout, Betsey England. Miller zoomed past the record time by two seconds finishing with a 1:05.6. Miller came back and led the 4x400m relay team including Shanae Ritter, Witzke, and Anderson, for another record breaking race, placing fifth overall with a time of 4:27.4. Distance and throws coach, Dan Andrews, is also excited about the Maroons’ performance in the longer runs. Notable runs were the 4x800m relay team consisting of Shanae Ritter, Alivia Powers, Raeann Huffman, and Alex Hunt, clocking in at 11:19. Powers came back later in the evening to run a great race in the open 800m, and missed breaking the indoor 800m record by just tenths of a second, clocking in at 2:39.83. Other distance highlights included a well-paced race and twelve second personal best time by Hannah Miles, running a 6:20 1600m. Creating buzz in the shot put was Megan Creager and Alexis Obermeyer, both throwing over 30 feet! The putting Maroons threw 30’9” and 30’5” respectively, and earned them the fifth and sixth places at the meet.

Coach Anderson says, “the most difficult challenge we have as coaches this year is deciding which girl to put in what events; they are all so talented in so many areas!”. Pole vault coach, Ken Lovett, is also excited about the increased interest in pole vaulting. With five vaulters this year, the program continues to grow stronger and more competitive. The Maroons would like to extend an invitation to their upcoming home meet on April 3rd , April 16th, and April 20th; there is now no admittance fee for the home meets, so please, come and support your Lady Maroons Track and Field Team!!


Clinton girls track sets new school records at indoor meet
Posted: Friday, Mar 16th, 2012
BY: Drew Rosten / Clinton Journal

BLOOMINGTON – Four days prior to Wednesday’s Normal West Indoor Invitational, the 4×200 relay team set a new school indoor record for fastest time. The relay team (Becca Anderson, Ally Lawson, Morgan Witzke and Amber Miller) almost repeated the feat on Wednesday at Illinois Wesleyan University. If not for a malfunction on a baton exchange, a new record would have been set.

Instead, the 4×200 relay team finished fifth in the invitational with a time of 1:55.86. As a result, the school record stands at 1:55.67. “We got a lot of traffic running, so it was kind of a battle bouncing off each other, but yet, when they did that, they still almost beat the school record,” Clinton coach Randy Anderson said. “They just missed it by two-tenths, and they smashed the old school record. So [it was] a really a good day.”

Miller, Becca Anderson and Morgan Witzke returned to the track for the 4×400 relay. Together with Shanae Ritter, they broke the school indoor record with a time of 4:30.59, good enough for 12th place among invitational competitors. “That group came back and set the school record,” Anderson said. “I had [Becca] at a 1:07.0, which is really good for indoors right now, so I’m really happy with that.”

Becca Anderson also set a school record individually with her time in the 55-meter dash. She ran the dash in 7.75 seconds, taking the record from Savanna Thomas, who ran the 55-meter dash in 7.84 seconds in a meet last year.

Becca Anderson’s older sister, Rachel, ran for IWU after participating in track for Clinton. Randy Anderson said Becca had some experience running at IWU prior to Wednesday’s meet.  “Becca runs track club, so she runs here all the time,” Anderson said. “But it was neat to be here, and it was
neat to see her on that track.”

Becca Anderson ran her record-setting time in the invitational preliminaries and finished eighth. The top seven advanced to the finals, and Normal University’s Tatyana Peck took seventh place with a time of 7.74.

Lawson came up short of a barrier as well. After achieving a high jump of 4-foot-10 (good enough for fifth in the invitational), she failed to get over the 5-foot bar.

In the long jump, Lawson tied for 10th with a leap of 14-foot-5. Shianne Smith finished in 31st place with a jump of 12-8 .

“Ally Lawson did another fine performance in high jump,” coach Anderson said. “She just missed 5-foot again.  She also had a nice long jump.”

In the 800-meter run, Alivia Powers achieved a personal-best time, taking 16th place with a 2:44.16 effort. Raeann Huffman had a time of 2:50.64, good enough for 24th place.

Powers and Huffman also participated in the 4×800 relay. Teaming up with Ritter and Mykenzie Witzke, the Lady Maroons finished in 12th place with a time of 11:24.9.

In Saturday’s Charleston Invitational, the 4×800 relay team had a time of 11:34.67.


Clinton girls track team has record-setting day in Charleston
Posted: Tuesday, Mar 13th, 2012
BY: Drew Rosten / Clinton Journal

CHARLESTON – The Clinton girls track team’s 4×200 relay set a new indoor school record last Saturday at the Charleston Invitational, held at Eastern Illinois University.  The 4×200 relay team (Amber Miller, Ally Lawson, Morgan Witzke and Becca Anderson) achieved a time of 1:55.67.

“It was really exciting that they were able to do that,” Clinton coach Randy Anderson said.

The previous record was set in 2004 by Kristine Anderson, Sarah Matherly, Betsy England and Rachel Anderson.

“Those were four fast girls,” Anderson said. “I was really pleased with how well this group of girls ran. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

For the complete article see the 03-13-2012 issue.

Anderson making time to coach Clinton track

July 30, 2010
By Randy Sharer

CLINTON – In terms of things to do, Randy Anderson has a full plate. He knows that as does his wife, Ann, as well as his staff at Anderson Ford Mercury in Clinton, where he works as general manager. But beginning next spring Anderson’s busy schedule will have to make room for the job of Clinton High School head boys track and field coach. So what could possess a businessman to take time out of his day to help kids? Anderson likens his situation to a TV commercial he saw for a retirement company that began “Someday I want to grow up to be …” “Well, someday I want to grow up to be a coach,” said the 55-year-old, who feels he still has a lot to learn about track, but that’s not all bad. “Because I know nothing, all I do is sponge off everybody all the time.”

The truth is the considerable track knowledge Anderson has soaked up since becoming a volunteer Clinton Junior High assistant coach in 1998 includes tons of tips from Illinois Wesleyan coach Chris Schumacher begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting and his former assistant, Marchan Adkins.

The past dozen years has also seen Anderson serve off-and-on as Clinton High School assistant girls track coach. “Anything our kids have done in sprinting is because of Marchan Adkins,” said Anderson, whose daughter, Rachel, was a seven-time Division III national champion at IWU. The biggest thing Adkins taught Anderson about coaching was the importance of giving athletes the right type and amount of training at the right time in the season. “It’s like cooking brownies,” Anderson said. “You leave two or three of the ingredients out, it doesn’t come out very good. If you put it in the oven and pull it out too soon, it doesn’t taste very good.”

Anderson wishes he had known about periodized training when he started coaching. “It’s been a fun journey,” said Anderson of his track education. “It’s still a fun journey and I love seeing the kids grow. Every kid can become faster no matter what level they are, which is really cool.”

Anderson has had a red-hot passion for track since growing up in Lexington, where his name still appears on two sprint relay school records. “The program gave so much to me at a young age in Lexington and then it gave so much to me with Rachel,” said Anderson, who wants to give his future athletes a program that mixes fun and success.

“We’ve had some great talent come through. I just want to take everything we’ve had and take it to the next level.”

Anderson, who replaces Karl Parrish, will have E.J. Brady as his assistant for throws and distance running. Leann Sosamon will coach the horizontal jumps and assist with sprints. Anderson hopes to add other volunteer assistants. The boys staff will work with head girls track coach Steve Cors to oversee both boys and girls in various specialties.

“I feel very thankful, very lucky to get this opportunity,” said Anderson before speeding off to the next phase of a busy day. “I think it’s a privilege for me to coach the kids.”