Indoor Trackies reflect on another season of success

HTML tutorial

The Townsend Harris Girl’s indoor track team sent their team of 54 girls to their final meets—and for a few, their final Queens and City Championships. The boys’ indoor track team, equally successful, has come to a close, marking the end of their second of three seasons. Their successes were a reflection of the hard work throughout the rigorous season.

For the girls, practice took place Monday through Thursday and each athlete’s workout varied based on her primary event. There are 20 events, ranging from the 55 meter runs to pole vaulting. Coach Timothy Connor explained, “The top twenty athletes get more specialized training schedules, and less experienced ones will wait until they improve.” Most agree their practices were difficult, and many have gotten hurt or injured. Freshman Erica Jin shared, “It was difficult to show up to track every day when you have a billion other priorities, especially when it was 30 degrees and we ran outside with hail coming at us.” Erica, however, soon learned “ if [the other team members] can manage their responsibilities, so can I.” 

Sophomore Amelia Wiszowaty, who qualified for city championships in the pole vault, stressed the importance of overcoming mental obstacles. “Track itself is a lot of hard work and dedication. I would show up to practice every day and put in the work to run and sprint better,” she commented. “In the end, track is also really how strong your mental ability [is] to push through being tired or stressed.” Junior Riya Sapkal expanded, “No matter what failures occur, you have to push that aside and keep going. Being perseverant is a big challenge, but that’s what pushes us to become better athletes.”

For the last 20 years, this team generally ranked in the top three, their top rivals being Cardozo and Young Women’s Leadership. With a little over a month left in the season, Senior and captain Emily Tan has high hopes. She said, “We have a solid group of race-walkers, which tends to score a good amount of points in championships. We also have city-qualifiers in the 1500M race walk, triple jump, 1000 M.” To match their goals, Coach Connor meticulously designs the workout plan. “We really get down to the science to change the human body on a cellular level by increasing the oxygen levels in the blood. It gets pretty intense,” said Coach Connor. 

Through intensive practices and long meets, the team developed deep bonds. Senior and captain Carine He said, “When you’re running tough workouts week after week and enduring the harsh winter on the track, it’s hard not to become close to your teammates. From ranting sessions in the locker room to the copious amounts of tears shed at meets, track has become a support system for many people on the team.” Sophomore Chloe Munoz shared, “I can’t imagine Townsend without track. The team has really changed me and I love them so much.” 

Coach Connor also highlighted his love for the team: “Coachwise, there is so much going on that it’s interesting. You don’t get bored. Each athlete is a different puzzle. It’s a sport that intrigues me and gets my mind going. What we have here is, I think, a family.” 

Regardless of the outcome, Coach Connor concluded, “We’ve had a lot of success. There are people that have progressed in a really long way, but I don’t care if they walk away from the team champions. I do care that they walk away with the attitude and mental fortitude of being healthy for the rest of your life.”

The boys also had an eventful and successful season. “One success was our Millrose Trials 4x400m relay, which qualified us for Penn Relays. The season is coming to a close and we have a few runners who gave their all for qualifying for times in City Championships,” said senior and captain Denion Prifti. “We also wanted to go into Queens Champs with some momentum so we could all do our best and score and place as a team,” added Denion.

However, some challenges stemmed from setbacks, such as the loss of key senior members of the team and injuries. Junior Chris Sullivan said, “We felt like [placing at Queens Champs] meant more since we lost a good portion of our team due to graduation and injuries.”

The boys had set personal goals to represent and help the team from the beginning of the season. Sophomore Filip Puskarczyk said, “Some of us improve quicker, get personal records at every meet but others improve in their own time. I wanted to be the best at an event and [qualify for] cities with the qualifying time. I’d like to say I’m getting there.” While this sport does have opportunities for its athletes to earn many individual awards, the combined efforts of everyone truly depicts the team as a family. Sophomore Hamza Khan said, “This is my first year on the team and it is a good environment to be around with supporting teammates and coaches.” 

With the outdoor season coming soon, both teams look to accomplish their goals for the home stretch of the year.

Photo by Derrick Chia.