Phoenix Track Athletes Set Records at Senior Night

On April 11, the Phoenix outdoor track and field team celebrated their seniors and competed against the Potomac Fall Panthers and Tuscarora Huskies in a tri-meet, leaving some athletes with personal bests, and others with room for improvement.


Zahria Ford

Senior Kamaal Reel races in the 100m dash, setting a school record with a time of 11.08 seconds. “I was just proud of myself, since I’ve had that goal ever since I started here,” Reel said.

Senior Paul Skeen walks up to the starting line, performing a final few stretches before taking a starting position. The April 11 meet was Skeen’s final home meet in high school since starting the program in his freshman year, culminating in a day of competition and celebration of the commitment, dedication, and achievement of senior track athletes. After a strong start to his race, Skeen ended with a personal record of 4:49.35 in the 1600m run. “I definitely did not know what I was going into,” Skeen said. “This is my senior night so I did feel a bit of pressure… I felt really good after that race.” 

Before the celebration of senior athletes on senior night, many runners, jumpers, and throwers broke personal and school records during the tri-meet against the Potomac Fall Panthers and Tuscarora Huskies. Senior Kamaal Reel placed first in the 100m dash, setting a new school record with a time of 11.08 seconds. “During the week, I had a full good week [of practice],” Reel said. “So I think that really helped me.” Reel attributes a lot of his running success to his coaches, and he strives to carry on this success while he continues his running career at Hampton University. “[Leaving] kind of hurts a little bit,” Reel said. “I started with [the coaches] and I finished with them. That’s where I get most of my knowledge from, from coach Burzumato, coach Jones, coach Lancaster.”

For Reel, an important milestone in his running journey was a conversation with his coach. “One time, coach Jones pulled me to the side, and he said ‘you could really go somewhere with this, you have to push yourself and earn it’,” Reel said. “So I really dedicated [myself] to that, and got more starts in, started hitting the weight room a lot more, started eating right, started preparing mentally before a track meet.” 

For some athletes, this meet was an important return to the competition world after experiencing injury during the season. “It was my first race in three weeks, I’ve actually been injured,” senior Edmund Garcia said. “[Being injured] was very demotivating, because coming off the winter season… I was really looking forward to doing well in the spring.” Despite this injury, Garcia looks forward to the rest of the season and continuing his running career at the University of Mary Washington. “One of the things I really regret was not joining track or really any clubs sooner… I’m glad I can continue at least another year or so at postsecondary,” Garcia said. 

As some were competing in the last few races of their high school career, others were just getting started. Freshman Zoe Fyne-Okorie ran her first race of the season, competing in the 100m dash and the high jump. “We were working on how hard I hit the ground during practice, so I think I utilized that well for that race,” Fyne-Okorie said. “I want to get sub 13 [below 13 seconds]. I want to qualify for at least regionals.”

The next track and field meet will be on April 29 at Lightridge High School.