Boys Indoor Track thrives in Holiday Classic

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On Sunday, December 28, while the rest of Townsend Harris was nursing cups of hot chocolate by a warm fire during winter break, the boys of the THHS indoor track team traveled to the Armory in Washington Heights to compete in the PSAL Holiday Classic. After competing in several events against teams from throughout the five boroughs, the boys scored a first place finish in the 4 X 800 meter relay as well as multiple top ten finishes in several other events.  In addition to the numerous personal records set by many members of the team, the boys broke the school record for the 4 X 200 meter relay by setting a new one of 1:38. Junior Abdoulaye Diallo also set a new school record of 51 seconds for the 400 meter run.

 In the varsity 1000 meter run, sophomore Agastya Vaidya finished 53rd out of 109 runners with a time of 3:05. Junior Holman Guaman set a personal record of 3:07, which was good enough for a 60th place finish. Senior Igor Portnoy finished shortly thereafter in 63rd place, setting a personal record of 3:08. In the freshman counterpart of this event, freshman Benson Yunatanov placed 13th out of 31 runners with a time of 3:25.

 “[It] was a tough race because it was my first time really running since the break started, and I felt so out of shape. I didn’t run my best,” said Agastya.

 Benson reflected on the race itself saying, “I was pretty nervous, and so were my competitors. I got to talk to some of my opponents and we all had one thing in common; we all were feeling butterflies in our stomach. During the run, I tried my best to stay in the front. I paced myself well, and once there were two laps left I started to pick up the pace. With just a few meters to go to the finish line, I went from third place to fifth place [in my heat].”

 In another distance event, the 3200 meter run, senior captain Yash Sharma finished fifth out of 48 runners. He completed the race with a time of 10:24, which qualified him for the indoor track PSAL City Championships in February. Sophomore Muhamed Bicic placed 26th with a time of 11:18. Junior Matthew Sullivan set a personal record of 11:29, placing 32nd.

 The boys set a new school record of 1:38 in the 4 X 200 meter relay. A team comprised of senior captain Stanley Harcharan and juniors Abdoulaye Diallo, Dysron Marshall, and Aidan Moran finished 11th out of 43 teams.

 As stated before, Abdoulaye set a new school record of 51.0 seconds in his leg of the 4 X 400 meter relay. He and his relay team of Dysron, Stanley, and junior Evan Noblesala finished 10th out of 29 teams with a time of 3:40.54, a time less than a second off from the qualification cut-off for one of the largest outdoor track meets in the world, the Penn Relays.

 In the 4 X 800 meter relay, a team comprised of Muhamed, junior Benjamin Chang, and sophomores Adam Sosnicki and Justice Williams placed first out of 13 teams with a time of 9:06. Benjamin additionally set a personal record of 2:19. A second THHS relay team of Agastya, Matthew, Holman, and Igor finished with a time of 9:36, placing fifth. Matthew set a personal record of 2:24, and Igor that of 2:25.

 “Agastya, Matt and Holman raced extremely well; I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Igor said. “As Holman passed the baton [to me], I started passing people, at least five, one by one, and even though our “A” team was about to catch up to me and lap us, I didn’t let them and proceeded to keep passing people and help our team earn a medal as we finished in fifth.”

 Justice sprinted into eighth place (out of 32 runners) in the preliminary 55 meter high hurdles with a time of 8.59 seconds. This qualified him for the finals of this event, where he placed eighth with a time of 8.73 seconds.

 In another sprinting event, the varsity 300 meter dash, Abdoulaye led the team by placing 13th out of 267 runners with a time of 36.78 seconds. Dysron placed 53rd with a time of 39.39 seconds, and Stanley placed 73rd with a time of 40.36 seconds. Evan, Benjamin, and junior Fahim Nousad placed 93rd, 145th, and 164th, respectively. In the freshman 300 meter dash, Benson placed 49th out of 81 runners with a time of 47.16 seconds.

 Adam and senior Junwoo Shin set personal records in the varsity long jump. Adam placed 16th out of 44 athletes with a distance of 17 feet, 1.00 inches. Junwoo placed 24th with a distance of 15 feet, 9.00 inches. Senior Kunal Tanwar jumped a distance of 15 feet, 1.00 inches, placing 29th.

 “I felt that I performed very well, especially since it was my first time competing. I placed 29th in an event with about 50 competitors,” said Kunal. “Obviously, that’s not a gold-medal performance. But even so, I felt that I did very well. To be honest, I was surprised when I discovered the distance I jumped.”

 The boys also competed in several other field events. Adam set a personal record when he placed 10th out of 18 athletes in the high jump by jumping a height of 5 feet, 4.00 inches. Junior Ross Bonete threw a distance of 26 feet, 8.00 inches to score a 39th place finish (out of 60 athletes) in the shot put.  Jun Woo placed 12th out of 16 athletes in the triple jump with a distance of 31 feet, 7.50 inches. Although Aidan fouled his three throws in the weight throw, Ross threw a distance of 19 feet, 2.00 inches to place 16th out of 17 athletes. In the freshman weight throw, while he was the only one to compete, freshman Min Seung Kim threw a distance of 19 feet, 11.00 inches.

 Even with the break they had had from practice preceding the meet, the boys overall felt their performance was a good way to end the year, especially with the great number of personal records set and school records broken.

 Benson said, “The team did really well. The strong suit of our team is the relay team. They are very fast and seem to always blow out other schools.”

 Igor added, “Our team did fantastically as a whole, and even though most of us did more than one event, we performed fantastically with personal records all over. I could not be prouder of all the work our team has put in, and we hope we can ride our momentum and obtain number one at Queens Champs.”