Author: Sant Kumar
Though the season is still fairly young, the men’s and women’s track teams are undefeated due to their improved chemistry and focus. However, neither team is content with its success thus far.
According to Meghan Fruth (junior), the women’s team has exceeded their expectations for the season and still looks to get better. She attributes the team’s success to runners pushing themselves to their limits, as well as to improved team chemistry.
“We’ve surpassed what we thought we could do. There were really good freshmen, [and] people have been running lifetime bests. The team is a lot closer this year [since] we’ve put in the effort to get along with other people,” Fruth said.
She specifies that the emphasis this year is on the team as a whole and not just individual event groups, such as sprinting or distance. The manner in which team members support each other is especially evident during track meets.
“Track teams have been separated in the past based on event groups, but this year there is more emphasis on being a team. We all cheer for other event groups. I think that unity has really had a big impact on us in a positive way,” Fruth said.
As a result, the team’s best attribute is balance. There are strong athletes in each event group, according to coach Robert Bartlett.
“We have strong sprinters, distance runners, jumpers and throwers. We don’t have many glaring weaknesses that other SCIAC schools can expose,” Bartlett said.
Similar to the women’s team, the men’s team has also achieved success so far. Dimitri Groce (senior) believes the team’s success has not led to complacency. Instead, he said that the early victories have only fueled a desire to get better.
“Any frustration from past meets would be that we’ve done well, but we think we can still do better. We all want to increase our competitive edge because we haven’t faced the hardest teams in our conference yet,” Groce said.
As a sprinter, Groce sees the fire in his event partners. According to Groce, the sprinters have altered their training to include strength-based exercises, which allow them to finish the races strongly. Additionally, there are new drills being incorporated in practice this year. One of them is called the “wick-it” drill, which allows the runner to increase his speed as the race progresses.
The unity in the men’s team is evident in the way the runners challenge one another during practices.
“We respect one another, so we challenge one another. [It] is a really strong attribute to have a track team that pushes itself internally, because [when] we challenge each other, we can see the benefit of it when we race,” Groce said.
Coach Bartlett sees the work his athletes put into improving themselves and feels proud. Though he wants the team to be one of the top three teams in SCIAC, he also enjoys seeing the athletes help each other and show passion for their sport.
“I’m immensely proud to work with such a great group of young people. Being at practice is honestly the highlight of my day. It’s a pleasure being around people who are passionate about such a diverse range of subjects and who are at practice because they want to be there,” Bartlett said.
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