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It’s a new season for the Proviso East Track team, with hopes running high for all. In particular, the team is excited about their long-distance running crew, headed by Forest Parkers Raymone Fleming and Daryl Townsend. With these veteran seniors at the front, it seems The Pirates may become real contenders in the long distance arena, as opposed to previous years when their strength has been mostly in sprints.

Distance Coach Billy Harris spoke of his expectations for the team: “As far as the longer runs go, we always have fun. This year and the next we’re expecting to produce some of the best distance runners in the area.” Harris was especially high on Pirate stalwarts Fleming and Townsend.

Fleming runs the 800 meters, the .600, and the mile. He’s been working on his acceleration this year, looking to improve his time in the mile. “It’s tough,” he said, “Most people know us for sprints. I just show up, work hard, and hardly think about the competition.” Fleming placed 9th in the 600 meters at Saturday’s Proviso West Invitational, running a time of 2:40.

Fleming’s teammate Townsend runs the 400, the 800, and the 4 x 4 relay. Also a lifetime Forest Park resident and four year member of the track team at East, he said he always expects “to compete at a higher level every meet.” For him, this means training hard every day and always running in a group with the distance runners.

Proviso’s other notable finish Saturday was Joe Washington’s 2nd place in the 400 meters, breaking a record with a time of 53.6 seconds.

The Pirates square off in a dual-meet on March 8th, followed by the Co-Ed Invitational on the 18th and The Pirate Classic at Proviso West on the 24th.