Five indoor track athletes headed to the Armory in New York to compete in the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals. Esme Huh ’22 and Tam Gavenas ’25 were both able to secure personal records as well as school records, contributing to the overall success of the team.
Head Coach Keri Lambert elaborated on her mindset as Nationals approached. She explained how her main hope was for each athlete to exit the competition proud of themselves and with new goals for the upcoming spring season.
“Heading into the meet at the Armory, I was excited for Andover athletes to be there together and really savor the whole experience, from racing in a storied facility against top athletes from across the country, to the small things like seeing their names on the jumbotron and taking group photos in front of the meet’s countless banners. […] My top hope was for them to walk away from the meet feeling proud of all the hard work they put in this season and excited to keep working together toward ambitious goals,” wrote Lambert in an email to The Phillipian.
Huh mentioned how this meet felt low stress and exciting for her. She explained how she felt confident in her work throughout the season and was looking forward to pushing herself against challenging opponents.
“I was confident in all the work I had done… I felt very low stakes in a way because I wasn’t really stressed… I got to race against girls that were really fast and that helps me really push myself. I wasn’t trying to meet the national standard this meet I wasn’t trying to do anything specific, like it wasn’t Andover-Exeter where you have to score points, it was just so low stakes for me, so I was just really fine,” said Huh.
Gavenas headed off to Nationals with aspirations of overcoming his own personal record and achieving esteemed awards. In his endeavors, Gavenas also broke Alex Fleury’s Junior record during his 1600-meter race.
“I really wanted to PR. I wanted to race as hard as possible and the top five or top six currently because of the backpack and partly because of the All-American but I was mostly thinking about my coach who helped train me during the break. And I thought, ‘Okay, this is the point where I should put in all the work into this race,’” said Gavenas.
”I thought I could do it. […] And we had been training a lot during those past few weeks. So if I just kept my routine stretched out. I workout my stretches, ate well and everything. And I knew that my teammates were there to support me–Charlotte, Esme, Hayden, and Patricia. They were all there to cheer for me. It was amazing,” Gavenas continued.
Huh reiterated how this moment was very fulfilling for Gavenas, as Fleury is a role model to him. Breaking the freshman boys record created another level of excitement for Gavenas after his race.
Huh said, “I think he broke the freshman boys record and it was actually Alex Fleury’s record which is pretty amazing just because we love Alex Fleury, and he is such an incredible runner. So I think that’s really monumental for Tam just to be able to break that and, [he’s] an athlete that he really looks up to, so I think that’s kind of a really cool little full circle thing.”
Coach Lambert acknowledges how each and every athlete pushed themselves to be the strongest runners possible. She believes the team’s hard work paid off in its Nationals trip.
“The main focus of the weekend was to compete courageously and to be pushed to fast times by tough competition. Every Andover athlete who competed did just that: they put themselves in excellent position early on in their races, made smart moves when necessary to stay on pace or hold position, and fought off fatigue to finish strong. They ran tough and mature races. It was inspiring, and I’m proud of how well they represented PATF,” wrote Coach Lambert.