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Student Life: Meet the MCSM Track Team
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Student Life: Meet the MCSM Track Team

By Haby Sondo and Azizat Sadiq As Spring approaches, the track stars at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics rigorously train to prepare for another challenging season. They put on their sneakers, black shorts, and blue uniform tops. The boys jump up and down saying their personal mantras over and over again while the girls […]

By Haby Sondo and Azizat Sadiq

As Spring approaches, the track stars at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics rigorously train to prepare for another challenging season. They put on their sneakers, black shorts, and blue uniform tops. The boys jump up and down saying their personal mantras over and over again while the girls tie their hair into sleek ponytails for the three renowned words indicating it’s time to breathe in and out, get into down start position, and run: “READY, SET, GO!!!”

Each runner was asked:

  • What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run?
  • Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run? If so, where did you get it from?
  • What made you want to join the MCSM’s track team?
  • What do you love the most about being part of the track team?
  • What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?
  • Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?
  • How has joining the track team change your life?

 

IMG_0527Name- Chantel Lewis

Year- Senior

Time on track- Since Freshman Year

Type of Runner- Sprinter

Height – 5’6

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “First I start running around the track a couple amount of times, then I would do some dynamic stretches like sprints and things to just really stretch out my muscles so my running does not result in any kind of injury.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “Before I run, I tell myself that pain is weakness leaving the body. I got it from the marines. There’s a bottle that I won for doing a pull-up for 50 seconds.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “I wanted to join track ever since elementary school. I joined track during freshman year and I kept at it because I realized that this is something that I’m kind of good at, and I like the results of putting in enough hard work and seeing results at the end if you’re actually dedicated to something that you really like.”

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “My favorite part, apart from the individual achievement you receive from it, is also the sort of family feel that I get from like you know, working with my teammates. As captain, I am able to build a lot of connections and relationships. It’s nice.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “My advice to anyone who wants to join track is that if you’re dedicated and passionate and enjoy running, then do it. If you do join, just remember that it is something that you have to be dedicated to. It’s not like other sports – it requires so much of you. It’s not just running because there are many other dynamics coming into play.

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “First, do a bunch of high knees on tape- measure out the tape and do the exercise on the tape. Second, get stronger- doing different types of exercises that are going to strengthen your muscles. Lastly, keep form. Running track is different from other sports so keeping form, that can help you run faster.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “I’ve become more of a leader from doing track. I’m more willing to push not only myself but other people, and understand that it’s not only about you sometimes. You have to work together as a team.”

IMG_0529Name- Nancy Leon

Year- Senior

Time on track team – Since freshmen year

Type of Runner – Long Distance

Height- 5’3

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “I do drills, static stretches and like 3-4 laps. Then, I compete.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “I usually tell myself to move…usually I push myself, and even when its practice or competing I try to make sure that I am ahead of the person that I am running with.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “In the summer of eighth grade I started running track on my own, and then I decided to start running track for the school. I wanted to run because I thought it would be fun, and I ended up loving it, especially cross-country season, since it’s what I’m best at.

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “I like how we are somewhat connected-the distance running, I love it. It’s like a passion.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “You have to be committed to it, don’t take it like it’s a hobby. Give it your all, and have rest days, like days that you don’t do anything.”

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “Run more often, time yourself and try to beat your time every time you practice, and do more sprinting.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “Track helped me learn about time management. I have to put in the time for track to practice to compete, and manage school and a bunch of other things. Even though it is an individual sport, it’s teamwork as well because when you run and someone is left behind, you push them to run while pushing yourself.”

IMG_0528Name – Rahima Torrence

Year- Junior

Time on track team- Since Sophomore year

Type of Runner- Sprinter

Height- 5’6

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “I stretch.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “I always tell myself that I can do it. I tell myself to just keep running, and don’t stop.”

Question: What made you want to join the MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “I joined the track team because I wanted to get involved in school activities. At the time there weren’t any clubs that interested me, so I decided to join the track team.”

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “I love the track team because we encourage each other. It’s an individual sport, but we still find a way help each other.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “Stay committed and don’t compare yourself to others.”

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “I am still trying figure out how to become a faster runner myself ,  but just run until you feel the burn.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “Joining the track team has helped me become more determined.”

 

P1200791Name – Roberta Nin Feliz

Year- Senior

Time on track team-  Beginning of Senior Year

Type of Runner- Sprinter

Height- 5’4

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: Some techniques I use is warming up and performing a lot of drills. I also stretch a lot.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: Before I run I just remind myself that I’m trying to beat myself because there are so many people who are way faster and it can be discouraging if you just focus on them and not yourself.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “I joined the track team because my friend encouraged me to join and I also wanted to get fit and healthy.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: I would just encourage them to work hard to beat themselves and not anyone else. Track is a very competitive sport and not everyone can win. Because it’s an individual sport, it leaves less room for more winners. But, I would encourage them to train hard and smart and to always make sure they have fun.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: Joining track has humbled me a lot. I was always used to being able to conquer any challenge easily especially academic endeavors. But track was a lot harder for me because I’m not a natural runner. It has also taught me that I can’t be great at everything and that’s okay. In the end, I have fun running and staying fit so it’s all good.”

 

IMG_0591Name – Ekenedilichukwu Uwanaka

Year- Junior

Time on track team- Since Freshman Year

Type of Runner- Short-Long Distance Sprinter

Height- 5’8

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “Before a race, I drink a lot of water, ingest a lot of carbohydrates, and try to keep up as much energy in my body as possible.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “Pain is the weakness leaving your body. As a Freshman , it was something [the track team] always told us, so I stuck with it. Being the captain, I try to carry on the traditions.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “Well, as a kid I always loved to run, and I found an extracurricular activity which could help me use that love of running and fitness, and employ it to my overall character as a person.”

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “You get to meet a lot of people, and you get to see everybody’s devotion and ambition. It’s just like a good bonding experience and it helped me meet a lot of my friends. I love when you go to a race and you see that everything you’ve done has been brought to fruition. You set a goal to get first in your next race, and it happens. So that makes you feel good about yourself.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “The first thing I’d say is that it’s not easy. It’s a commitment like any other sport, so you have to give your all to it in order to get results. The second thing I would say is stay committed because you won’t gain anything and you won’t see any difference in your athletic or personal goals if you don’t try your best. Third, try and have fun and be a competitive person, because that’s what the sport is about ; it is about growing, and being better .”

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “To be a faster runner, you have to have the mindset, the drive, and goals. You have to set a goal and give yourself a timeline to accomplish that goal.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “Well, it’s made me a more healthy person, it’s given me a sense of responsibility, and it’s helped me learn how to manage my time because I have to deal with schoolwork, track, applications for programs. Track makes it easier to manage your time in the long run.”

 

IMG_0418Name – Corey Langston

Year- Junior

Time on track team- Since Sophomore Year

Type of Runner- Sprinter

Height- 5’5

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “I try to focus and calm myself down. I try not to think about anything else but running. I do dynamic stretches which are stretches while continuously moving and how holding a position.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “I tell myself to relax.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “I always liked to run but when I was younger, I was fat. I decided I wanted to make a change in my life health wise.”

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “I love the freedom of running. Track helps me clear my mind.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “Make sure you’re ready to join, plan your time, & work hard.”

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “Maintain a good diet including lots of water. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your diet as well.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “I’m not fat anymore, and I’m getting my packs.”

 

IMG_0425Name- Curtis Beatty

Year- Junior

Time on track team-  Beginning of Junior Year

Type of Runner- Sprinter

Height- 6’0

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run?

Answer: “I stretch a lot and I make sure my diet is healthy before I run a race. I make sure I have a good hearty breakfast like oatmeal or eggs. We do dynamic stretches like moving while we’re stretching.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run?

Answer: “Not really, but I’ll develop one as I gain speed.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team?

Answer: “I wanted to join track because I’m Jamaican and  I have a destiny to fulfill. I just felt like I had to do something while I was in high school and I didn’t want to do basketball because it wasn’t really my sport. I was told that since I have long legs, I should start running. It’s something that I’ve liked ever since I was younger.”

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team?

Answer: “I like the people that are there. They give me a nice environment to be around and we make good jokes.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else?

Answer: “Drink lots of water-not too much or you’ll get a cramp. Make sure you get your form good because good form equals good speed. It’s also nice to go on a jog every now and then so you can develop endurance.”

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “I would suggest that you work on perfecting your down start because you get power off of that, which will equate to speed at the end of a race. Also, practice on making your strides longer because that will help you win the race.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life?

Answer: “It gave me something to do after school which keeps me physically active and healthy. While I’m running, I don’t have to think about homework and all that other stuff. It frees your mind.”

IMG_0584Name – Shamar Reeves

Year- Senior 

Time on track team- Since Junior Year 

Type of Runner- Middle Distance Sprinter 

Height- 6’0

Question: What are some techniques you use to get yourself prepared to run? 

Answer: “I just try to zone everything out. I hate going into a race with a cluttered mind because it doesn’t make me feel good. When I’m running, I don’t focus on beating the person in front of me, but on beating the previous time that I put up for that event. When I get out there, I go out running clear. Also, I’m a very flexible person. I do yoga religiously. I believe that my muscles have to be ready, I can’t be sore, or feel any type of stiffness in my leg before I go out there.”

Question: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself before you run? 

Answer: “Before I walk onto the track for a race I always say to myself “Your biggest competitor is yourself”. I got this from the countless times that I got so caught up with passing the person in front of me that I often broke form and ended up losing. Once I decided to remind myself that I’m my biggest competitor, it became easier to win.”

Question: What made you want to join MCSM’s track team? 

Answer: “I decided to join the track team because my gym teacher, he was like you’re pretty quick so you should go out there and join it. When I got there, I enjoyed running.” 

Question: What do you love the most about being part of the track team? 

Answer: “ I just… I don’t know… I like the races, I like the competition. I like going in there and nobody knows my name and I go out there and show them something special.”

Question: What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the track team at MCSM or anywhere else? 

Answer: “You have to do the work by yourself. You know yourself better than anybody else. You know how far your muscles can stretch, you know how fast you can run, and you have to be able to take on new challenges. You can’t keep running the same distances in practice. You have to go up higher, you have to go harder.” 

Question: Do you have any tips on becoming a faster runner ?

Answer: “Well, one thing that changed the way I run was that I started watching tapes of the Olympic runners. When I get out there, I try to be like them, and perfect my form just like them. That helped me pick up my speed a lot.”

Question: How has joining the track team changed your life? 

Answer: “Track changed my life completely. It taught me that you learn more from failures than you do from success. You’re going to go out there and you’re going to fail sometimes but you can’t give up. You have have to keep pushing, keep working, and you’re going to get better.”

The camaraderie witnessed interviewing this track team was extremely admirable. Over the course of the years the members have changed tremendously but this idea of working hard to attain positive results is still present. Most of the members saw track as an escape, an outlet from the tiresome life of a high schooler. These well rounded student athletes are not only able to participate in an activity that they feel passionate about, but also continue to maintain great GPA’s. Their hard work and dedication proves one thing about track- its focus on individual achievement and team work makes it a challenging, yet rewarding sport. We can say with much conviction that track is about much more than running fast. It’s about being your own biggest competitor. It’s about setting individual goals and setting a timeline to achieve these goals. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself, a team. And at the count of “3…2…1…,”, it’s about  getting ready to run as fast as your legs will carry you.