When the gunshot rings out, the competitors begin sprinting. In this particular race, the runners pass their batons to the next person after 100 meters. After three handoffs, Laura Shelton (10) runs the last leg to the finish line for the varsity relay track team.
In addition to the 4×100, Shelton also competes in four other events.
“I run the 100 dash, 200 dash, 100 relay, 200 relay and the long jump,” Shelton said. “Sometimes I even do the [4×400] relay. Track meets get pretty hectic for me sometimes.”
Laura has run track since seventh grade, and during her first high-school track season the 100 relay team prospered.
“When we went to regionals, we were the only people from West Shore there,” Shelton said. “We were all proud of ourselves even though we didn’t place. There was tough competition there.”
At the end of the season, Shelton and the other three runners in the relay received a special award for their performance at state.
“Running the relay with Laura is really fun, and it felt so good to be able to compete at regionals,” teammate Alexa Weaver (10) said. “Everyone in the relay has equal responsibility for getting us a good time, but it is definitely fun to see [Shelton] finish the race for the team. She’s very passionate about running.”
In addition to the recognition for regionals, Shelton has also received the MVP award every year since joining track and field.
“I am honored to have gotten the award so many times,” she said. “I work really hard during the season, and I try to practice during the off season as well.”
Weaver marvels at Shelton’s ability.
“She is like a natural at running, her long legs definitely help,” Weaver said.
Even throughout her success, Shelton has faced several obstacles.
“Last season I developed shin splints, so I wasn’t able to participate in long jump due to the pain,” Shelton said. “It was tough, and this season I’m working to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The shin splints I got came from the school track. It is in bad condition and the impact that happens while sprinting is what led many athletes including myself to develop shin splints.”
In addition to shin splints, Shelton balances a full schedule.
“For extra-curriculars, I play volleyball for West Shore in the fall, track, Girl Scouts, and I volunteered at the VA until I got to busy with all the other things that I do,” Shelton said.
Track season is up and running and so is Shelton.
“Not only do I love the running and the events at track, I love hanging out with my friends who do track with me. We always have a great time,” Shelton said. “I am stoked for this season and all the ones after it.”
By Elise Chauvin