After an undefeated 6-0 record last year, Andover Boys Track and Field is poised to dominate its competition once again on the track. Despite losing a variety of graduating athletes including Captain Andrew Wang ’16, Rob Jones ’16, Brad Schlosser ’16, and Ralph Skinner ’16, this year’s team is well-equipped with a wealth of returning talent to take on new challenges.
Three-year track returner Captain Will Hartemink ’17 is replacing Wang as this season’s captain. Running in a variety of events including the 4×440-Yard Relay and the 300-Yard race, Hartemink looks to recreate the same warm and dynamic community that is a staple of indoor track and field.
Andrei Dumitrescu ’18 said, “As for our captain, [he is a] really strong runner that [has] a lot of tips to give out in times of need. He does not crack under pressure. Will rises up to the challenges we face and helps us get through them as well.”
Track and Field is a sport that relies on a combination of individual performances and team depth. As a captain, Hartemink’s goal is to create an environment where both veteran and novice athletes can blossom, thrive, and eventually succeed at meets.
“Most people know track and field as a sport focused on individual achievement. I’m proud we’re different here at PATF. Every day, we get on the track together, warm up together, and practice together, whether you’re varsity or JV, boys team or girls team. Anyone can join the track team by picking up a new event, be it throwing, running, jumping, hurdling, [etc.]. I actually believe it’s this sense of togetherness that makes us so successful. We run, jump, and throw not only for ourselves, but also for each other,” said Hartemink.
Track and field’s welcoming environment is bolstered by the leadership of upperclassmen athletes.
Placing ninth in last year’s U.S.A.T.F. New England Indoor Championships 400-Meter dash, David Onabanjo ’18 is returning for another season to improve his sprinting technique and speed. Onabanjo hopes to gear his training in preparation for the 50-Yard sprint and the 300-Yard dash for regular season meets.
Giacomo Marino ’18 said, “David stands out as someone who will continue to dominate meets and improve his already good times.”
Another vital athlete on the team is Noah Ward ’17. Ward is highly regarded for his phenomenal throwing prowess, and placed second in last year’s Nepsta Championship meet with a throw of 49 feet 7.5 inches. This year, Ward hopes to achieve greater heights after his archrival, Chukwudi Ikpeazu PEA ’16, graduated. In previous years, Ward had always battled, but never achieved domination, over the Exeter thrower.
Sebastian Bishop ’17 said, “Noah is going to be great for our team and is definitely gonna get a lot of points at our meets. He is amazing at shotput and always places first. This year there is no competition against him.”
Dumitrescu, a returning 300-Yard and 4×440-Yard Relay racer, will hope to also make an impact on the team by providing leadership and performing in meets.
Dumitrescu said, “I’m looking forward most to seeing the new faces compete. It’s always a great sight to see a new addition to the team try their hardest and give it their all for our team, and cheer as hard as the rest of us.”
“Some of my goals this season are definitely to get as fast as I can in this short winter season, but I also want to help others get faster. Last year it was all new to me and I was nervous throughout the whole season. [This] year, I want to help the younger kids improve and become more accustomed to the environment,” continued Dumitrescu.
After a week’s training, Andover will host the first dual meet of the season against Governor’s and Wilbraham & Monson this Saturday.