“My goal was to get to nationals in the first year and it’s what I expected [because] I know I have good kids this year,” says track coach Cezar Terlea. “I am proud of my team.”
This is the first year for CBC to have a track team, and already two athletes, senior Cody McKnight and freshman Ally Swaim, are headed to nationals.
“I have known Ally for a long time [because] I used to coach her in the summer since seventh grade,” says Terlea. “She is one of the hardest workers – she will never say ‘I am tired’ or ‘I can’t.’ She has really good character and that’s what you want to have in an individual athlete.”
Swaim has running in her blood, as her mother was a marathon runner and her sister ran at the division one level. She says that her goal for nationals is to be All American, and by her junior or senior year she hopes to win nationals or be in the top three.
“I have always loved the 100-meter hurdles, but I’m a multi-athlete which means I will do seven events in one meet,” says Swaim. “It’s exhausting, but I absolutely love it [and] I love the team.”
Swaim says the team is like a family and they are all best friends.
“Running on a collegiate level is the most fun I have ever had, but being on this team with my best friends and an amazing coach has made it even better,” says Swaim.
According to McKnight, the team has already created a culture of winning and will be coming after anyone who wants to face them on the track.
“Our team is a close-knit family,” says McKnight. “I love my coach, [he] has given me the opportunity to run, and he has not let me down yet. I trust his knowledge and advice over anyone else’s.”
Swaim says Terlea is like a second dad and knows a lot about the sport.
“Coach always has a positive attitude and makes me believe in myself even when I’m in a slump. You can ask him anything about running and he will know the answer.”
Terlea says that McKnight surprised him because he had never run track before.
“They call him ‘white lightning’,” says Terlea. “It’s the first year he has been in track- he was a baseball player and now he is top four.”
Mcknight says he loves the excitement, exhilaration and the competition of track.
“I have always loved racing and sprinting so this sport fits me perfectly,” says Mcknight. “I work hard to win. I don’t care who you are, I am out to beat you if you step on my track.”
As for goals, Mcknight says he wants to win nationals and to be one of the best 400-meter runners in the nation for next season.
“I don’t care what your name is, what school you go to, or how fast you are, I am coming after you to beat you,” says McKnight. “I thrive off of competition and I want to compete at the highest level against the best of the best.”
Terlea also says the whole team is working hard and making personal records.
“Everyone was hot. It’s real family for us [and] the whole team works out,” says Terlea. “Kelsey Knox got second in high jump at UALR with Macy McKissack right behind at third; Courtney Rife and Riley Harlan are good in 100m and 400m hurdles; Cade Griffith and Jerred Quattlebaum are really good in 800m; Cody Duffey, Shannon Zamora and James Dawson are really good in Javelin; Victor Chukwueke and Tanner Moore in discus and shot put and Tajnae Barnes got second in high jump at UCA.”
Freshman Macy McKissack has been running track for six years and she says she has enjoyed representing CBC.
“It is neat to be a first generation track athlete,” says McKissack. “The sport [is] a lot more about the community rather than winning.”
Photo by Louisa Henderson