Training for middle distance events since middle school, Boys Indoor Track & Field Co-Captain Ayana Alemayehu ’21 brings extensive experience and commitment to the team. According to Alex Oder ’21, Alemayehu’s dedication and positivity towards the sport is contagious.
Oder said, “He is definitely someone who leads by example. He is very much focused on performing his best, you know, he’s not the type of leader that you’ll see goofing around during practice and not doing the drills. He is very dedicated to the team.”
When did you start doing Track & Field? In which events did you compete?
I started running track around 7th grade in middle school. I was doing cross country before that, so I was used to doing long distance running, but from that point onward I stuck to sprints like the [200-Meter] or [400-Meter] and just kept doing them for the rest of my track career. I also started doing long jump in 8th grade and continued in 9th and 10th grade, but stopped doing it then. But I’ve really just been centered around the [200-Meter] and [400-Meter] during my time at Andover.
What do you enjoy most about running?
I’d say on one hand, it is the people there as well as the friendships. [I enjoy] traveling with [my] team to really far away meets and bonding together by encouraging each other to push their limits and reach new personal records, but [also] just the community aspect as a whole. And then there is a personal level, where you overcome the fear or nervousness of a race and the exhilaration afterwards of doing better than you’ve done before.
What were your goals going into this season and how have they changed due to the circumstances?
For my goals before [Covid-19] in Upper Year, in [Lower] Spring I feel I hadn’t performed to the best of my ability or excelled particularly. I can’t really compare myself to others, especially in track, but I wanted to see myself do better. So for the Upper Winter track season, I was trying really hard to get bigger and faster and reach another level. Upper Spring is when I was trying to get some valid times down. Then [Covid-19] came and took that away. Now, a year later, it is more about ending track on a good note and passing off the torch to the next group as a track captain and alum afterwards.
What do you do to perform at your best?
I have a diet, so two days before, I ate carbs, which was usually pasta in the serve yourself station, and I just ate a lot two days before and even the day before. The day of the meet I usually eat on the lighter side specifically during breakfast as I do get pretty queasy especially for the [400-Meter]. I stretch also to set myself up physically for success. And of course there is the same thing on the mental side. I try to relax, which is hard because if it means something to you, you will get nervous, so there is not much you can do about that. It changes with different people, but for me, once I get in the starting position in the race I think, “Well, it’s showtime,” in a way.
What is your favorite memory with Andover Indoor Track and Field?
I guess there was this one [55-Meter] where I got a 7:04 which, again, is not that crazy, but I had been plateauing for the last couple of months in my performance like in the [400-Meter] and I was just getting really tired of seeing mediocre results, by my own standards. This was Upper Winter track season where I was in the mentality of trying to do something and get something, so I was working on myself. I guess I was also taking a risk as I did not see my effort last year amount to anything, so I just thought I’d try even harder instead of quitting. Then, in that [55-meter] I [set a personal record] by a good margin and realized that hard work really does pay off.
How has Andover’s athletics program shaped you as an athlete and teammate?
It has really just showed me the meaning of hard work, and it is the most brutal lesson by saying that you won’t get anywhere without taking a risk and trying hard. All I’m trying to say is that it taught me the lesson that hard work pays off.