The Coronado High School track and field program is the definition of a young and fiery team.
Led by Coach Cameron Gary, in his second year as head coach, the Islanders only have four seniors on a team composed mostly underclassmen with a solid mix of juniors.
According to Gary, his program is poised for a huge season, with the young talent that has emerged.
And there is one Islander – Lindsey Balsley – who has made her name known locally after a breakout sophomore season.
Balsley, a junior, is a returning City League and Division 3 CIF champion who excels in the 300m hurdles and long jump.
She wrapped up her sophomore season by finishing first in the 300m hurdles, which is her top event. Balsley also took second in long jump during the City League Championships and Division 3 Championships
These impressive performances didn’t go unnoticed, and were reflected nicely in the rankings.
According to Gary, Balsley is the sixth-ranked returning 300m hurdler in San Diego.
City League and CIF championship wins were rewarding for Balsey, but as she enters her upperclassmen years, she said she’s not content with similar results.
“My biggest goal this season is to make to state.”-Track athlete Lindsey Balsley
“I’m hoping to shave a few seconds off my hurdle time and add a couple feet to my long jump. My biggest goal this season is to make it to state,” said Balsley.
To make it past championship meets based in San Diego and onto the state meet, Balsley said she understands it’s going to take a great amount of work.
From grueling workouts in the weight room to long practices on the track, Balsley said she’s embracing the challenge.
“I always have to put in 100%, and I can’t waste the time I have out here. If I don’t think I’m doing something well I’m not going to do it at all, because how you practice is how you are going to perform at the meets,” said Balsley.
Big wins at Elmer Runge Invitational
This mindset has worked for the junior so far.
Balsley wasted little time stepping back on the podium after she finished first in the long jump and 300m hurdle at the Elmer Runge Invitational on March 18.
The first place finishes in both events has her ranked first in the City League in both categories.
Balsley’s success in the long jump and hurdles, however, makes it easy for her participation in the 4×100 relay to fly under the radar.
This event is just as important to Balsley as she runs with three girls who are all new to track.
The Viking Invitational on March 11, was the first time the foursome got to run together.
“I feel like a leader that these girls can turn to, and they know when there are things they don’t know they can always come and ask,” said Balsley.
The junior’s experience in the sport and success these past years has propelled her into a leadership role that goes beyond just giving advice to the girls in her relay.
According to Balsley, she feels a sense of responsibility to be someone the underclassmen can look up to.
She also mentioned how a track team becomes one big family over the course of the season, and teammates bond by encouraging others to reach personal bests and improve.
According to Balsley, the familial aspect of track is something she believes is unique to the sport.
Being a three sport athlete, Balsley has seen the team dynamic created in different sports.
Balsley also competes in volleyball and soccer, but it’s track that comes first for her considering how meaningful the program is to her.
With track being Balsley’s main priority, that is the sport she sees herself continuing after high school.
“I think it would be amazing to continue track in college.”-Balsley.
Balsley said she has plenty of appreciation for soccer and volleyball, but at times she uses those sports as a way of conditioning for her true love—track and field.
“My hope is to get a scholarship for track. Even though I play other sports, I think it would be amazing to continue track in college,” said Balsley.