Dashing through the snow

Aces Boy’s Track is putting the miles in during the cold winter months.

Photo courtesy of Legacy Photographics

Everyone knows what winter brings: consistent sub-freezing temperatures that make being outside for more than a second miserable. However, this doesn’t stop the winter track team from coming out to practice everyday, no matter the conditions. These dedicated athletes do this not only to succeed in the winter season, but also to train for track in the spring. The team boasts an impressive coaching staff with Kevin London at the helm, and Neal Berman and assistant Isaac Jennings returning from cross country to train the distance squad. Julian Weldon and Marchelle Else lead the sprinters, with Berman also assisting with jumps. The team will compete in several notable meets including Ocean Breeze in Staten Island, an Armory Invite in Manhattan, the states meet, and potentially even Nationals. For the first time, the team will also compete in Polar Bear meets – races that take place outside rather than in indoor tracks. 

The long distance section of the team has high aspirations for the season. Alex Goonewardene ’24, a top distance runner, explains how “varsity distance will have their first race about five weeks out from States and will train for most of the winter.” The team plans on improving as much as possible so they can perform the best they can at States, and then building on this success in spring track. For the very best of the long distance runners, not just States, but also potentially even Nationals is a real possibility. Last year, Andrew Gannon ’23 ran the mile at New Balance Nationals. With his improvement, and other teammates also running at a very competitive level, the team certainly has the potential to go far and be a force to be reckoned with.

A key difference between the fall cross country season and the winter and spring track seasons is the inclusion of sprinters. Sprinter Nick Je (Legacy Photographics)udy ’24 explains that the expectations for this section start with coming “to practice prepared, meaning prepared and focused to run.” Jeudy runs the 100 meter and 200 meter races and finished third place in the Central League championship last year. He hopes to continue this level of success into this upcoming season. Brennan Else ’23 and Asher Weisman ’23 are other key members of the team. Last year, they helped clinch third place at Central League Champs in the four by 100 meter relay. Clearly, the sprinting unit has returning talent that will help them to accomplish great things this season. 

Like with sprinting, the field events begin with winter track and continue into the spring. Already, there has been success in this section through high-jumper Damari Dean ’23. Even though the season and official practices have just begun, in a recent practice, Dean jumped what would be a District qualifying height of 74 inches. He explains how “coming into the season I’m feeling pretty strong,” and how this jump already puts him at the top of the Central League. His biggest goal is to qualify for the next level and put his best foot forward in all competitions. Over in the triple jump, Aneeq Osman ’24 looks to qualify for Districts. Osman is also hopeful that pole vaulter Alex Ajose ’25 will go far in Districts. Overall, Dean confidently asserted that “the indoor team this season is looking pretty strong” thanks to the “new guys with talent joining the team, as well as lots of the guys from last season rejoining the team.” Osman agrees with this positive outlook, predicting that “at least one [player] from each field event will qualify for Districts.” If they are able to accomplish half of what they think they can, it seems that the field section will have a successful winter and spring seasons.

Still, these extremely ambitious expectations are clearly justified. They have already had success, possess the drive to train in absurdly cold and harsh temperatures, and have the experience of multiple members returning after strong seasons. With all these factors in place, the winter running program is in a position for this successful program to continue to excel.

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