East’s track team began training a few weeks ago, but for junior Kaycee Mayfield, the season’s been going on since fall. Having been to two national meets already this year, Mayfield thinks she’s ready for whatever this season can throw at her.
Mayfield started track in freshman year, and now runs for the Varsity team, competing in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. This year she also hopes to compete in the the 4X400 meter relay.
“Kaycee is such a hard worker and is super dedicated to track,” junior Hannah Nick, a close friend of Mayfield, said. “She takes no seasons off and is always ready to go.”
Mayfield trains with the USA Track & Field organization at the KC Flyers track club six days a week, as well as doing weights two days a week. They do drills such as Ankling, A skip, and A run, to improve their technique and muscle strength.
“It’s really competitive and the training’s basically preparing you for college,” Mayfield said. “So it’s at more of an intense level,”
On Feb. 23, Mayfield attended a meet at Kansas State University (K State) with USA Track & Field. Mayfield placed third in the 200 meter dash and, running the 55 meter dash for the first time, placed third in that event too.
Although this meet was a national event, not many people attended, so it wasn’t as competitive as the ones Mayfield usually attends. The meet had only been going on for a couple of years, and wasn’t widely advertised, so it wasn’t well known. Also, as the meet was located in Manhattan, KS, it was hard for teams from out of state to attend.
The top participants in each event were invited go to the USATF National Youth Indoor Championships in Maryland, and although she qualified, Mayfield decided not to attend, because she wanted to prioritize her training for the East team.
“I would have missed the first couple of weeks of training with high school,” Mayfield said. “And since there’s all new coaches at East, I wanted to make a good first impression.”
Mayfield is particularly proud of her achievement at a national meet in Arkansas on Jan. 18. Unlike the K State meet, this one was packed, with over 100 people competing in each event. The entire meet was over 12 hours long, and Mayfield placed fifth with her team in the 4X400 meter relay.
“There’s nothing like running in front of a huge crowd,” Mayfield said. “I get really nervous before my races, but once the gun goes off, I know it’s time to roll.”
Mayfield ran the 400 meter dash, and was extremely proud of her time of 63 seconds, which shaved almost five seconds from her personal best, placing her 49th in the race.
“It was important to me because the 400 isn’t my race anyway, so the fact that I dropped so much time and was able to place that high in a big meet was really exciting,” Mayfield said.
But Mayfield says she doesn’t have time to sit back and bask in her success. She’s out training every day after school for East track, preparing for the coming season. One thing Mayfield knows she needs to work on if she’s going to reach her full potential this season is her running starts. A good start is crucial, particularly in the shorter sprints, as losing a couple of seconds at the beginning can ruin the race before you’ve even begun.
It’s little things like this that Mayfield knows she need to work on, because she has a lot riding on this season coming up. This is the time for her to be noticed by college scouts. She wants to be selected for scholarships so she can continue with Track & Field at college.
East has the Shawnee Mission North Relays, the KU Relays and the SME Quad coming up, and Mayfield is excited to get started and prove what she can do. She loves the way she feels during the race.
“When I run the 200, I just feel like I’m flying,” Mayfield said. “There’s enough time for me to really get up to my top speed.”
Mayfield says there’s nothing like the sense of achievement she gets afterwards, and she can’t wait to channel that passion into this season’s competitions.