Track ices the competition at Allen Park

Margot Murphy '23, Associate Web Editor

The heat beats down on the backs of the athletes as they line up for the 4×400, preparing to pass the baton to the next runner. Their teammates cheer and gather on the outskirts of the field to cheer them on. Then–bang! The official shoots the starting gun and the athletes take off and run…to go eat ice cream?

On Saturday, April 15, the varsity boys and girls track joined together to race in the Allen Park Invitational, their first invitational of the season. Athletes competed in standard relay events, like 300-meter hurdles and 100-meter dashes, as well as “silly” events such as the Brain Freeze 4×4, Coaches Relay and Throwers Relay.

“The fun I had today really captures the atmosphere of track in general,” said Olivia Barbra ’25. “There’s some serious events, but also events like the ice cream relay that are just so fun.”

The day started early for the temporary co-ed team, having to get on the bus at 7:30 a.m. and the meet not ending until 3 p.m.

Athletes competed in their typical events such as hurdles and pole vault throughout the day, with the sillier events being saved for the end of the invitational.

“The point today was to work hard at our first invitational and have a ton of fun,” said girls varsity Head Coach Steve Zaranek. “I think we accomplished it on both ends there.”

These events are traditions for the Allen Park Invitational, but this is the first time since COVID-19 that teams competed there. In the Throwers Relay, athletes that typically throw shot put or discus ran a 4×100 meter relay.

The coaches relay involved trainers running a 4×100 relay for the chance at bragging rights. The Brain Freeze 4×400, however, was the most highly anticipated event.

In the Brain Freeze, participants ate a pint of ice cream before running a whole lap around the track and passing the baton to the next teammate. Tristan Wininger ’26 was one of the four runners of this event, commenting on how events like these embody the atmosphere of track.

“The actual running portion I don’t think I did great on, but I think I did pretty well stuffing ice cream into my mouth,” said Wininger.

The day ended in high spirits for South as the coed team took third overall out of sixteen schools.

“This is the kind of meet that you do once or twice a year because it’s just pure fun,” Zaranek said. “The kids remember this type of event forever.”