Photo by Jaime Dickinson

By Alicia Dziak

It’s that time of year when SGI’s most dedicated runners, jumpers and throwers are getting ready to represent Springville on the track. Five seniors, six juniors, five sophomores, five freshmen, eight 8th graders, four 7th graders, and two 6th grade managers make up the girls’ track team, which is coached by high school PE teacher Mark Heichberger and assistant coached by Michelle Solly and Kalli Chilson.

Like the other spring sports teams, the track athletes are able to train indoors until the weather breaks. “We use the BFS (Bigger, Faster, Stronger) system in the weight room. We lift three days a week,” Heichberger said. “We do a large amount of core work every day.  We also run in the hallways. We try to do one pool workout a week.  It is a nice way to cross-train and get away from the constant running on the floors.”

While SGI is traditionally strong in hurdles and throwing events, Heichberger believes this season, the team has pretty solid performers in all areas.

“Payton Rowe and Chloe Chamberlin return as juniors and they were both sectional finalist last year,” he said.  Rowe is the school record holder in the 400 hurdles and Heichberger adds that she’s also outstanding in the 100 meter hurdles. Chamberlin is a 100 and 200 meter sprinter.

On the distance side, Sonya Krezmien, Hannah Goetz, and Lizzy Miranda are all returning. “All three of these ladies were sectional qualifiers last year,” Heichberger noted. “Hannah is our school record holder in the steeplechase.  Elle Russell returns to the team after a year’s absence.  Elle has been running great this year in both cross country and indoor track.”

The team also looks to be stronger in field events this year. “We return Allison Emmick in the high jump.  This is her second year and we are projecting it to be a really good year for her,” Heichberger said. “Allison Lavanture returns in the long and triple jump. She was our top jumper last year. MacKenzie Engle is going to lead our throwers this year.  We have a small group but we are expecting big things from them. Brooke Walker and Alyssa Greaves were our top two pole vaulters last year and they are both back.  They should both be sectional qualifiers.”

The team’s schedule consists of four league meets (against Alden, East Aurora, Maryvale and Depew), two non-league meets (against Fredonia and Gowanda) and six invitationals.  The girls are scheduled to kick off their season with a scrimmage against Holland and Pioneer over spring break.

“All athletes on our team will compete in every scrimmage and league meet, as long as they have enough practices and are healthy,” explained Heichberger. “We are allowed to run three girls in a scoring heat for all of our sprint races.  All other girls that want to run the sprints will still run them, but it is a non-scoring heat.  They will still be timed and they will most likely still have athletes from the opposing school to run against.”

Heichberger further explained, “We are allowed to put four girls in the scoring heat for all distance races, four girls in the scoring spots in all field events, and we are allowed one scoring relay team per relay.  The same rules apply where we can enter as many girls or relay teams as we want, but only our designated girls can score points for the team.  This is all based on times and distances that we have previously recorded from meets or scrimmages.”

Invitationals, which allow the team to compete against more than one team at a time, work a little differently. “At the invitational meets, we are only allowed to enter our top two or three athletes per event,” Heichberger explained.   “The ECIC (Erie County Championship), Section 6 Championship, and NY State Championship meet are all time or distance based.  The athletes would have to qualify based on their individual performance to compete in those meets.”

As the season ramps up, Heichberger said, “We are looking for all of our student-athletes to get stronger and improve on their best time or distance.  We want them to be competitive and hard working.   If they can do that we will be fine.  I believe that we will be in contention for a division championship if all goes well!”

For the complete schedule, visit and check out the Springville Times every week throughout the season.