Jacob Slabosz is a senior and has been on staff for two years. He has played baseball at Antioch for four years and is a three-time state qualifier with the math team. In his free time, of which he has very little due to frequent overworking, Slabosz enjoys cooking, scrolling through TikTok, boating and throwing sass like there is no tomorrow.
On your Mark, get set, go
April 27, 2022
Senior Mark Deutschmann is defining what it means to be a role model on the boys track and field team. Competing in the sport all four years of high school, he has amassed a wide amount of experience. He has spent his time learning from others and using his influence to improve himself and team morale.
Deutschmann’s interest in the sport began to show itself back in middle school. Since he closed the chapter on his previous sport, Deutschmann started looking for a new one to keep him occupied; trying a few others, he quickly realized that they were not for him, leading him to try out track and field.
“I’ve always wanted to do track though, seeing everyone in middle school wear their state qualifying hoodies, talk about how fast they were compared to each other, and it gave me a spark,” Deutschmann said. “So, I decided why not give it a try. After the first practice of finding what events we would be good at, I fell in love with the sport immediately.”
Being one of the only senior sprinters means that Deutschmann’s teammates hold him to an even higher standard than traditionally. His constant effort to do his best proves that his teammates are right. This year, Deutschmann was voted as one of the five captains, proving his efforts should not be taken for granted.
“He’s been somebody who’s told me how Antioch runs things, how to train hard, how to be respectful to your fellow athletes,” head coach Jacob Buddell said. “He is one of those athletes that you’re going to see when practice starts to when the practice ends.”
Deutschmann’s drive to keep himself and his team at their very best is one of his most vital qualities as a captain. He refuses to accept anything but the very best from himself.
“We go from straight from sprints to working on hurdles,” Buddell said. “He’ll work if you give him the opportunity to work until eight o’clock at night, if he could, he would do it. He’s also motivated, he’s inspired, he’s got goals for himself and he is passionate about those goals. He wants to do well in them and that lights the fire under him.”
Another vital attribute for a team captain is making the new athletes feel welcome and integrating them into the high school program. Having the first- and second-year students feel a sense of belonging can be the key to improving their performance and increasing cooperation among the players.
Like many other sports, track and field require an immense amount of commitment and drive to be the best. From consistent training to perfect articulation, everything is a factor.
On the surface level, track appears to be a very rudimentary sport with the simple objective of just running faster than your opponent. However, this creates an opportunity for athletes to dive deeper to find areas to improve and get a leg up on their competition.
The most significant factor is form. The form is critical to getting a leg up on the opponent.
As the season progressed from indoor to outdoor, the scenery was not the only thing that changed. Events like the 60-meter dash turn into the 100-meter dash. Indoor tracks are only 200 meters, while outdoor tracks are 400 meters. The sharper indoor track makes it harder to run on.
¨Running anything more than 200-meter at a time can be very difficult to find your pace just because of the awkward distance, but once you settle in you’re normally okay,” Deutschmann said.
Adapting to a different track can pose a challenge for athletes, adding another difficulty for athletes trying to get a new personal best.
“I have definitely lost a race or two because I’m not as confident as others cutting into the track,” Deutschmann said. “Another key difference is that the indoor track is half the distance as the outdoor one. This plays a huge part in the mental game, as many 400-meter runners can misjudge their pace early on in the first lap, and then completely die out on the second lap.
This creates anticipation for the outdoor season, while some athletes view the indoor season as a practice run outdoors. It creates a new skill gap between athletes to ensure their indoor times are at par.
Deutschmann’s leading events in the outdoor season are the 110-meter high hurdles, 300-meter intermediate hurdles and the 200-meter dash. Since he is one of the team’s only current hurdlers, his place on the team is vital to placing at meets. Hurdlers can be a rare occurrence on a team compared to other runners, and it poses quite a challenge to athletes due to the event’s sheer intensity and the difference compared to the other sprinting events.
“The biggest challenge is facing up against a hurdle and getting over the fear of falling,” junior Bob Rohrs said.
With hurdling being so tricky, it leaves very few Sequoits participating in the event, making hurdlers an important part of the overall team.
To ensure that Deutschmann gets the performance he desires, he has a few superstitions.
“For race day, I really take my superstitions seriously. On days of big meets, I always wear my red Nike headband, but only inside out,” Deutschmann said. “I always take off my regular shoes right foot then left, and then put my track spikes on my left foot then right.”
While superstitions may seem a little out of the ordinary, for Deutschmann, they are just the thing he needs to have a good race. Keep an eye on Deutschmann as he brings it all to the upcoming competition season.