Atoms track excited for winter season


Junior Miles Lanham looks to push himself to the finish line and get first place.

With the opening of the winter track season fast approaching, runners of all distances have been practicing with their respective teammates and coaches in preparation for the first meet. On Dec. 4, AHS will compete against Edison, Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and Mount Vernon for the opening meet.
After a successful few weeks of tryouts and preseason practices, all of the runners hope to perform well in their initial races.
“To prepare for the season, I have been practicing every day and working hard to improve,” junior sprinter and jumper Miles Lanham said.
Many of the runners have ambitious goals for the season and want to be able to earn personal records, as well as advance to district and regional competitions.
“It feels good that I am confident in my abilities and that I will be able to accomplish my goals,” Lanham said.
In addition, it is important that the runners help push each other for improvement and that the new runners acclimate to their coaches quickly.
“The coaches have been good at helping develop each individual runner, rather than choosing favorites,” Lanham said. “To help my teammates, I have been showing full effort and practice hard so they will do the same.”
For the long distance runners, the meet on Dec. 4 will be their first meet on the track so far this school year, but they have already run several races on 5k courses during the season.
It will be a big adjustment for the long distance runners to switch from running 3.1 mile races to competing in events all under 2 miles.
To get conditioned for the season, the long distance runners have gone on long runs through the Wakefield trail and have done drills on the grass field to improve running form and strength.
However, a large responsibility has been put on the runners to get enough miles of training tallied on their own during the Thanksgiving break.
If too many days of practice are skipped, endurance and conditioning will decrease quickly.
“After practice, we do conditioning and then we stretch, which helps us avoid injuries,” freshman distance runner Johnny Kennedy said.
On the other hand, the sprinters have focused mostly on their explosiveness as well as doing short distance workouts on the track.
It is important that each runner identifies their strengths and what distance is best for them. Their practices should consist of training that is best for the specific races they will run.
“To improve, we need to show up to practices and work hard every day. Consistency is very important, as well as the motivation to get better,” junior jumper Shalini Vlcan said.
This season will be a major adjustment for a majority of the runners. Due to Covid, many students opted out of running track last year.
For those who did run, everything was dialed back with fewer meets and fewer teams participating. This year, the Atoms will once again compete at high level meets.
Also, getting used to practicing in the cold will prove to be a challenge.
Most practices and some meets are held outdoors, meaning staying warm and avoiding injury is crucial.
“It has been super hard to prepare for the track season due to both Covid and the cold weather,” Vlcan said. “It has been more difficult to hold organized practices, especially as the weather gets below freezing.”
The Atoms seem to have a well rounded roster with runners competing in a variety of competitive events. Many of them have their eyes on districts, regionals, and even state competitions this year, but need to remain focused on getting better every day.
“My personal goal has always been the same, to get stronger and faster. I especially hope to make regionals as a triple jumper,” Vlcan said.