Behind the Scenes of the LHS Indoor Track Team

Nolan An and Sophia Zhang

Amid the 2023 indoor track season, the Lexington High School track team is training hard and competing. Each week is packed with five two-hour practices and a meet. As the team enters its invitational season, schedules have become even busier. Judging by the record-breaking scores, supporters have much to celebrate, but few know the hard work and discipline going on behind the scenes to gain these victories.

“You’re only going to get as much out of it as you put into it. Track is a really demanding sport, but if you really apply yourself and you work hard, and you push through those hard workouts, you’re going to be really happy about your progress,” Katie Atkins, a pole vaulter and hurdler, said.

Although many may recognize the physical feats that come with the sports, what is lesser known is the degree of mental concentration required to succeed. 

“It’s not just running your fastest or jumping your highest. You have to get yourself to go the fastest you can. Especially in hurdles, it’s so weird to be running full speed at a stationary object. Being able to flip a switch in your head like ‘I’m just going to go for it; I’m just going to do it’ is the hardest part,” Atkins said. 

Setbacks, while not ideal, are essential to growing as an athlete.

“It’s just agonizing pain seeing multiple throws or lifts not going well. But as long as you persevere and be really patient with the process, good things will happen,” Jack Ngo, a shot putter, said.

With so much attention placed on one’s meet score, athletes may overlook the value of dedication.

“Something that we need to handle is that a number doesn’t define you. It’s the work that you put in that defines you as an athlete. That’s a lesson that all the athletes on our team really have to go through,” Jayden Bai, a sprinter and hurdler, said.

Each team member contributes to the strong indoor track community, which has helped foster a supportive and exciting environment at practice and meets. 

“I have motivating teammates all around me, and that never really changes. They’re there to celebrate your successes with you after competitions or meets, and they’re also there to help you when you’re not feeling great. There’s always someone there lifting you up at practice and checking in on you, and that’s something great about the team,” Ava Criniti, a distance runner, said. 

Coaches are also a key pillar of LHS’s sports community. 

“We see [our coaches] for two or three hours each day, [and] they end up being someone that we can talk to, even if it’s not about running. I think that over time it definitely builds our relationship with them. Knowing that they want to be there for us, and are there for us, makes it easy to approach them when we need that,” Criniti said. 

The team’s comforting yet encouraging environment creates a safe haven for the athletes. 

“To me, track is an escape, and it’s also the only place where I feel like I’m able to contribute. It’s like I belong there,” Ngo said.

Overall, indoor track is a balance of overcoming one’s limits and feeling connected to others through the sport’s challenges. For those looking to start their track journey at LHS, Bai, who has been competing since his freshman year, suggests remaining optimistic.

“You have to believe in yourself [and] trust that you have the strength to compete at a high level. And then if you do the work, everything else will fall into place,” Bai said.