As a Junior, Andover Girls Track & Field Co-Captain Myra Bhathena ’22 broke the school record for the Girls 55-Meter Hurdles with a time of 9.00 seconds. Bhathena started participating in track & field in sixth grade, and after only two years with Andover Girls Track & Field, she was elected co-captain and is the only Upper to serve in that role. According to Kelly Bu ’23, Bhathena consistently works to maintain connections, even during the pandemic.
“As a captain, [Myra is] really really good at being engaged and keeping people connected. Especially with [Covid-19] and everything, she’s so enthusiastic and she cares so much about people in general that she’s always making sure that she’s letting you know, ‘Oh hey, I’m there for you, and I’m going to be a resource for you whenever you need it,’” said Bu.
When and why did you start doing Track & Field?
I started Track & Field in sixth grade at my middle school. I always liked to run in gym class, and I played soccer for my entire life, so I knew I could run relatively fast. I just wanted to see how it went.
What is your favorite memory you have from being on the team?
When we won Interschols in May 2019, I was still a [Junior]. That was such a memorable moment. It was so inspiring to see how every single team member and their race and their event put in the points to make us win together as a team. Track is such an individual sport, but winning together and claiming a title together is what makes it worth it.
How are you staying connected with your teammates online?
You may have heard of the “Racery” race that we were doing… It was our two-week virtual race where we split the entire team into four separate teams and each captain led their team. We also had a coach’s team, which is super exciting. That was just a great way to see everyone putting in the work in so many different ways to help us achieve our goals, and it was a great way to see what everyone was doing and stay connected. You could go into the app and physically like all of the activities your teammates are doing, comment on it, and share a picture. So that was a great way for us to stay connected.
Who inspires you on the track team?
I am motivated by my teammates, specifically upperclassmen like Lillie Cooper [’21]. She’s always been very inspiring. [Though] I never got to run with her, Fredericka Lucas [’18], who graduated before I came, is someone I am also inspired by. Georgia [Ezell ’19] was also a hurdler so she inspired me. They, as well as Victoria Kadiri [’20], were all strong, fast, and athletic girls to look up to on the team, but their kindness and support on the team as people is what made me want to not only be a better track runner but a better person as well.
You have broken the records for the 55-Meter Hurdles and 4×400-Meter Relay. What do these records mean to you?
The 4×400 [Relay] felt incredibly good because it was a team effort, and that’s often not found in track events. When you break a record in a relay, you break it with three other people so you share the feeling. It’s four times as good. When I broke the [55-Meter Hurdles] the first time, I was a [Junior], so that really just told me to keep working at it, and it got me a lot more invested in hurdling.
Your new program “Connect Against Covid” helps patients stay connected during the pandemic, something you obviously value within the track team. Can you tell me a bit more about it?
So last March, when [Covid-19] first hit the U.S., my mom, who is a pediatrician, got an email from a coworker asking if we had any iPads to donate to patients in our hospital. That’s when I realized that so many people in the [Intensive Care Unit], including the homeless population and some kids, in the pediatric wings,, do not have access to devices. So they are essentially completely disconnected from their families or loved ones. In the case of the homeless population, they don’t have access to Telehealth to maintain their healthcare. So, I created “Connect Against Covid” to collect used, but functioning, devices from people in the Greater Boston area. They could either ship it to me or I come and pick it up. Then, I sterilize them, wipe them of all data, and then systematically deliver them to all the hospitals and facilities that needed them the most in the Greater Boston area. [So far, we have donated] a little bit over 100 [devices].
Editor’s Note: Lillie Cooper is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.