So is winning a regional championship.
One out of two isn’t bad.
That is the case for three of the four members of the New London 4x400 state qualifying relay team. Dana Gustely, Eden Copley and Maryonna Cathey are making their first ever trip to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and they are joined by state meet veteran Morgan Luedy. But they all have a regional champion around their necks and that is some big-time experience.
The Lady Cats took home the regional title last week with a smooth 4:02.50. Gustely got the team off to a great start in the first leg handing things off to Copley who gained even more ground. Cathey took the baton and circled the track in a blazing speed and Luedy made up the rest of the ground as the anchor to take home the title.
“We all fit in the right spots,” Gustley said. “Each person is in the right leg of the race and it works out very well.”
Though the four have never ran a state meet race together, there is a first time for everything and the team enters the race with a ton of confidence.
“We train together every single say so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Luedy said. “We push each other a lot and it makes the most sense for us to be in a relay together since we are with each other all of the time.
“We know everyone’s potential. We know Dana can run a 1:02 and Maryonna can break into the 59-second mark if she really wanted to. We know each other well because we all love to compete.”
“We have a very good connection because we are always running together,” Copley said. “Since we all do the same thing, we know that the girl that is coming around is out there giving the last bit of energy she has so we have to make sure we give just as much effort.”
As Gustely starts the race, she feels her role on the team is one of the most important.
“I have to keep us in the right spot and get us off to a good start,” Cople said. “If they all run their best race and break their personal records, it all comes down to how I ran my race. If I don’t give it my best and get a good block start and go catch people, all of their effort is for nothing.”
Cathey is the quite member of the team, but can be the most impressive as the squad looks at her as another anchor to join Luedy at the back end of the relay.
“I feel like I should go out and get people so I can make it easier for Morgan to go and finish the race,” Cathey said. “I just go out and try to be another anchor for the team.”
With it being the first trip to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for three of the athletes, Copley said she and the rest of the team have been taking in some very helpful advice.
“We need to go in it thinking it is just another meet,” Copley said. “If we stay focused and do everything like we usually do, we will do fine. This has been what we have been working for all season. Just trust our ability.”
As for the expectations, Cathey had it in a single word.