Running in memory of Leslie Sherman

Daniel Nam, Sports Editor

Leslie Sherman was a graduate of WS and a part of the Track & Field program at WS. She was a student a Virginia Tech majoring in history and international relations before her life was taken in the Virginia Tech shooting. As a way to honor her memory, WS dedicated the track to Sherman and annually holds the Leslie Sherman Invitational in her memory.
The Leslie Sherman Invitational took place March 29th, on the track and was the first meet of the season for WS. A record breaking 21 teams attended the meet, including five teams that showed up for the first time ever.
Head coach Christopher Pellegrini expected many things from the track team at WS not just from competitors but also from those who were not running.
“There are many things to do when setting up a meet as large as this,” said Pellegrini. “We need help from not just the parents, but also the athletes to help make this run as smoothly as possible.”
WS athlete Joseph Branch, competed at the invitational in the 110 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, and the 4×100 meter relay. He hoped to qualify for states and while he is proud of his performance at the meet, he expected more from himself. This will be Branch’s last season at WS as he hopes to continue his love for the sport at the College of William and Mary.
“I’m proud [of my performance], but I kinda expected more,” said Branch. “I think it’s about respect more than anything, it doesn’t really matter how you do. It’s just about giving it your best.”
Sophomore Charles Haworth is coming into the spring season off of a great winter season qualifying for districts in the 55 meter dash. He hopes to continue his success by running the the 4×100 meter relay with Branch and the 4×400 meter relay.
“My performance was average,” said Haworth. “I think West Springfield performed subpar because it’s the beginning of the season and people are still getting ready to compete.”
Sophomore Nia Griffin helped WS place first in the girls 4×100 meter relay. Along with the first place finish, Griffin finished eighth in the 200 meter and tenth in the 100 meter dash which was a new personal record for her.
“I ran very well,” said Griffin. “I conference qualified for my 1 and 2 and PR’d (personal record) as well. My relay went super well, and we got first place which surprised everyone.”
However it is also important to realize the real purpose of this meet which is to honor Leslie Sherman and all that she had done for the WS Track & Field program.
“My favorite part of the meet isn’t looking for who ran the fastest or jumped the farthest,” said Pellegrini. “It is asking the coaches whether they have anyone on their team that may not be the best runner on the team, but one who always has the positivity that is infectious and always puts in one hundred percent.

Leslie Sherman may not have been the fastest runner, but she was enthusiastic and always put in that one hundred and ten percent, which really made her a crucial part of the WS track team. The Leslie Sherman Invitational is held annually in honor of her memory and everything she had contributed to the team.