Cavs’ girls relay team finds just the right mix
by Aaron Garcia
Putting together the perfect relay team is sort of like a chemistry experiment. Sometimes, as was the case this winter with the Cuthbertson girls 4×400-meter relay team, pieces need to be added or subtracted to get just the right mix. Sometimes, that formula is never achieved.
But this winter, Cuthbertson track coach Michael Demster found the winning combination with Raven Covington, Veronica Pfaff, Mikaela Seibert and Nikolete Hurrinus. The foursome teamed to capture the 4×400 state championship in 4 minutes, 9.24 seconds at the Class 1A/2A/3A Indoor Track and Field championships.
The performance gave Union County its lone indoor track state championship and earned the quartet Union County Weekly’s 2012 Girls Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Year. It is the first time the honor has been given to a relay team.
Covington and Pfaff both ran the event last year, but Demster added freshman Seibert to the mix at the beginning of the season. When an injury sidelined Pfaff for a few weeks, Hurrinus was added to the relay. Once Pfaff returned, Demster had all the ingredients he needed.
“We knew the first time they ran together – they ran about a 4:30 and just missed qualifying,” said Demster. “We knew the potential was there. In every meet after that, they continued to improve and lower their times.”
Covington, who was last year’s Union County Weekly Indoor Track Girls Athlete of the Year and the relay team’s lone senior, reached the state meet in 2011 and placed second in the long jump. That experience played a big role in this season’s success, said Pfaff, especially when battling pre-race nerves.
“(Covington) was telling us, ‘Guys, you’re over-thinking it too much,’ and I guess we were,” Pfaff said. “Raven was like, ‘Guys, just calm down. We’re going to do fine. We have a really good team, and I think we can win this. Just breathe and run like we’ve been running at practice.’”
Added Seibert: “(Covington) encouraged us. I knew she’d been to states before, and that really helped out a lot.”
And Covington’s composure paid off during the meet as well, especially after favorite Burlington Cummings dropped the baton on an exchange and the Cavs’ Hurrinus outraced North Buncombe to the finish line.
“I couldn’t even watch Nikolete run the fourth leg because (I was too excited),” said Covington. “When (Hurrinus) crossed the finish line, I was like, ‘I can’t believe it!’
“It was really a good experience, and I was really proud of everyone.”