by Nicholas Schade ‘23
With five different athletes qualified for state championships, the outdoor track and field season has drawn to an impressive, but chaotic, close. Disunited and undisciplined at first, the team strengthened and matured throughout the last half of the season with most athletes demonstrating exceptional improvement in the final meets of the year.
Steeped against heavy competition in the county championships, the track and field team as a whole did not score well among its opponents. In counties, the boys placed 20 out of 23 teams, and the girls placed 23. However, the field eventers placed much higher in individual events, with junior Noah Sussman placing third in the pole vault and junior Jack Link placing fifth in the high jump.
In regionals Link continued his performance streak by placing third in high jump, qualifying for the state meet. The boys 4×100 relay team—composed of freshman Po Gweama, sophomore Leo Cantor, and seniors KJ Edwards and Christian Gillmore—also qualified for states by placing third among 13 teams.
When the track season started, the team, particularly the sprinting group, was full of young and inexperienced runners. At first these new athletes were unfocused during practices, inciting tensions with upperclassmen. “The biggest challenge to the coaching staff this year was the lack of maturity of students who were new to the sport … They proved to be a distraction to the athletes who truly care about the sport and brought down the level of performance,” remarked coach Daniel Reeks.
Towards the middle and end of the season many athletes quit or could no longer participate due to low GPAs, depriving the team of some of its faster runners. However, as the season progressed and workouts became increasingly demanding, the remaining athletes developed both individually and as a group. “Over time the team has definitely become more united, and I see a very successful future ahead of them,” said senior Marissa Harris.
Finally, towards the end of April, the team was thrown one final obstacle: Covid-19. Several runners could not compete in county or regional championships because of positive tests, while others did not have enough time to fully recover from Covid-19 before the meets began.
Despite the season’s setbacks, many of the varsity runners were satisfied with their own results and those of the team,. “Everyone ran their best … and we definitely exceeded expectations for regionals and counties,” recounted senior Noam Tuchman.
The team convened one final time for a casual pizza party on May 24. Once a divided and inexperienced group, at the party each athlete cheered and congratulated each other as they received their varsity and junior varsity certificates, demonstrating a commendable amount of maturity and progress from months of hard work.