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AOTW: Alex Schimmel ’22 Brings Speed and Modesty to the Team as a Mid-Distance Runner

Alex Schimmel ’22 is a member of the 4×200-Meter Relay that broke a school record against Exeter on Wednesday.

Alex Schimmel ’22 returned to Andover Boys Indoor Track & Field for a second year after first beginning the sport in sixth grade. Schimmel proves to be an asset to the team through his hard work in the 55-Meter Dash, 300-Meter Dash, and 4×400-Meter Dash. According to teammate Alex Meyer ’20, Schimmel brings humbleness to the team despite having some of the fastest times.

Meyer said, “Alex Schimmel is a fantastic runner. It is his Lower year and he has already broken the 300-Meter record for the school, which has since been broken, but he held it for a little bit… Now he’s a lot more confident as well running races knowing he’s going to be in the first heat and knowing he’s going to be competing against older kids. He’s also really fast, but he’s really modest. He is always just with the rest of the team during warmups talking to other people, it’s not like he’s held on a pedestal despite winning all his races.”

Schimmel’s skill and work ethic has earned him the accolade of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.

When did you start track and how were you introduced to the sport?

I started track in sixth grade at my middle school because it was a requirement that you do a sport all three terms. I did track because I didn’t really know how to do anything else so I just chose track because it was there. I didn’t know anything about it going into it but I was super excited because the first thing I noticed was the team dynamic. I used to play soccer, and I noticed for soccer, it’s very competitive even among team members because you’re all fighting for positions you want. For track, since you’re all running your own race so you feel more like a team even though you’re still officially competing against each other.

What kinds of events do you run?

When I first started track I did distance. Then I switched to middle-distance, which is what I do now. Middle-distance is [the] 300-Meter [Dash] or [the] 400-Meter [Dash]. [The] 400-Meter [Dash] is my main event right now. I don’t really know why I like middle-distance so much. It may be because I’m not the fastest sprinter and I don’t have a ton of stamina, but in the middle, I seem to do really well with that.

Why do you enjoy running middle distance?

A lot of people really hate the 400-Meter [Dash] because you still have to run it pretty much like a sprint the whole time to finish well. That means in the last 100-meters your legs are numb, your vision blurry, you can barely stand, and you’re trying to not fall over. My best guess is that I enjoy the satisfaction I get out of these races. After I run a short sprint I don’t feel tired in the end, I don’t feel like I’ve gone anywhere. For middle-distance, you can feel it when you get there. I have scars all over my knees from all the times I’ve fallen because I can’t stand after I finish races, but I think it’s all worth it for the satisfaction of knowing that I ran somewhere.

What’s your favorite part about track and field?

The team dynamic, especially at Andover. I was really nervous coming to Andover because I knew it was a really competitive environment here, but it was the same thing as at my old school. Everyone is so supportive and there’s rarely competition between each other. Last year my friend Nick Koobatian [’22] and I were both running the 200-Meter and the 400-Meter [Dashes], and since we were running side-by-side to each other we were trying to make each other go faster. We both cut a lot of time off of our records, so it’s all just good teamwork and no hostility. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I stuck with track: because of the team dynamic and how we feel like a family despite the size of the team here.

Do you have any goals for the rest of the season?

One of my goals that I hit briefly was that I wanted to end the season with the 300-Meter [Dash] record, and I got it for a brief period, but then [Captain Alex Fleury ’20] took it, so I probably won’t be getting that back for a little while. For this season, I want to keep pushing down my record and I’m still going to shoot for the school 300-Meter [Dash] record.

Do you have a favorite runner?

When I was a kid I used to look up to Jesse Owens because he won gold medals in the Berlin Olympics during World War II. That was always the thing about him to me. He won gold medals when he was told he wouldn’t, so I was always really impressed by his determination. Right now I look up to the people around me on my team.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

Before races, I do the same routine right before I get in my blocks to start a race. If you ever see people jump around or hit their feet, there’s no purpose to that other than to intimidate people. I’ve developed my own routine. I do two jumps and on the second jump I hit my thighs twice and make sure that it has a really loud clap sound. Out of the corners of my eyes I try to see if people are looking at me to see I did it right.

What is your stir-fry order?

It changes from time to time, but anything with shrimp. Then I get teriyaki and soy sauce, but shrimp is the best food in the entire world.