On March 28, 2017, when two Southeast school records were broken, the participants knew almost immediately. Danna (Bitner) Daniel, who had set the Girls Discus in 1988, didn’t learn she was a record holder until much later.
“I don’t think I knew until I was teaching at Southeast in 1994-95 when I saw my name on the record board,” said Mrs. Daniel, who is now a teacher at Galena High School. Her youngest son, Devin Gideon, graduated from Southeast just this past year.
Mrs. Daniel did shot, disc, javelin – which was in its first year at Southeast when she was a senior – and high jump, which she spent most of her time on and qualified for State in. For nearly 30 years, her name was on the Southeast Track & Field record board, one of the longest held on the Girls team. When asked for advice to pass along to the young team she brought up the saying “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”.
“I have looked back and wished I had looked to a future past high school – I had opportunities to play all sports in college but chose to quit – I was tired and saw high school athletics as a finish line, (but) it’s not if you stay focused,” Mrs. Daniel said. “I did finish college in four years. My focus did change, but there is always that voice that makes me wonder what if I had played after high school. I had scholarship opportunities in Volleyball, Basketball, and Softball. We didn’t even have softball in high school back then.”
This year, Southeast hosted the opening meet of the season and junior Alli Markley had her eye on breaking Mrs. Daniel’s Girls Discus school record.
“I knew what the record was, it was 95’8″, and I was like ‘okay Alli, you’re throwing this in practice, you can do it in a meet,'” Markley said. “I’m like ‘you can do it Alli!’ And when he measured and said 95’9 I was like ‘that’s it!’ and I looked at Cady (Lloyd) and I was like ‘I got it!'”
One inch is all it took, but Markley is focusing on beating the record again.
“My goal is to beat it every time we go to a track meet, and if I don’t beat it, as long as I get close to it, that’ll make me happy,” Markley said.
The Girls Discus wasn’t the only record to fall at the opening meet of the 2016-17 season.
Junior Sarah Clausen, sophomores Jessie Jenkins & Taylor Myrick, and freshman Anna Thompson, combined to run 12:05.93 in the Girls 4×800 Relay, breaking the previous record of 12:14 set in 2012 by Aubrey Colvin, Alexandrea Craddock, Madison Martin, & Marina Stricklin.
“We knew we had a chance of beating the record,” Clausen said.
“(In 2012) I remember Coach Kimrey gave us a goal to break that record before the end of the season and we ended up doing it right there on our home track meet,” Alexandra Craddock said. Craddock and Jenkins are cousins.
“Coach Kimrey realized we broke it before we did,” said Madison Martin. “I think it was a goal we all had to break the record. I think we all wanted our names up on that board before we graduated.”
And while their names will be replaced on the school record board, the current team hopes they are just getting started.
Head Coach Nick Cheney, Jr. said in the past three years the girls team has broken multiple school records that had been set several years ago – shot put, javelin and now discus.
“I hope they continue to work hard to improve daily,” Coach Cheney said.