By Alexa Jindal
The 53rd annual Glenn D. Loucks Memorial games took place from Thursday, May 6 through Saturday, May 9 at White Plains High School.
It was established in 1968 and has since been regarded as one of the most elite High School Track and Field competitions the US has to offer. Last year’s Loucks Games were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the year before, in 2019, eight meet records between boys and girls events were set.
In 2018, Katelyn Tuohy, formerly of North Rockland, set the national 3200-meter record of 9:47.88 minutes, which still stands. The prestigious meet, led by Fred Singleton, coach of White Plains track and cross-country teams, usually attracts over 3,000 athletes.
Although this year’s games were limited to schools from New York, competition was still abundantly present. Singleton led a successful three-day competition consisting of 14 running events and five available field events, featuring a women’s section first, then, to allow for greater social distancing, a men’s section an hour later each day. In a normal year, the stands would be bustling with spectators excited to observe the thrilling speed and unmatched endurance that Loucks boasts annually.
The empty stands made Singleton “sad compared to Loucks Games in the past, but I understand it’s a pandemic, and it was just a blast to just see kids running at White Plains High School and seeing our kids having a chance to compete.” He had mixed emotions because of the changes but was overall “just so happy just to see people running at their hardest and throwing and jumping.”
When asked what the highlights of the Games were, Singleton responded saying, “The fact that we had a meet. There were a lot of hoops to go through starting way back in December when our Superintendent, our principal, and our athletic director all gave me permission to pursue having the meet.” After noting that things were worse with COVID back in December, when the meet was first being organized, he said, “They all felt, as did I, that this was so important not only to our kids at White Plains High School but to kids from our immediate area that if it could be done, it should be done.”
Singleton has both run the meet and run in the meet since its inception 53 years ago. He participated in the first three Loucks Games, before his time on the Penn State track and field team, and this is the 21st one he’s been the director of. He is also a long-time teacher at White Plains High School adding: “As a history teacher, knowing that the participants now will be able to tell their grandchildren that, ‘Yeah, during the pandemic I was actually able to run in a major track meet,’ and what that might mean.”
The first day’s weather was pleasant and sunny and a beautiful sky of blue and pink shone through for the boy’s section at night. Saturday was rainy all day but, as shown by the results, it did not faze the athletes in attendance. One-hundred meter winner Maeve Roney of Pleasantville stated: “It’s really exciting especially because last season we weren’t able to come out because of COVID and I’m really pleased with the results.”
University of Connecticut track and field signee, Isabelle Kapoor of Pleasantville, who with a significant lead, clinched the gold in the 100-meter hurdle event, added, “It feels great to compete after such a tough year with COVID and the challenge of maintaining motivation. I was really happy to win hurdles because it showed that my hard work paid off.”
The two seniors earned 10 more points for Pleasantville after winning the 4×100-meter relay Friday in 51.16 seconds, which was a school record.