Eight members of Andover Boys Indoor Track and Field traveled to the TRACK at New Balance in Boston to participate in the UMass Flagship Invitational on Sunday. Just three days later, the full team won at home by a margin of 72 points over Wilbraham & Monson, Governor’s Academy, Marianapolis, and Landmark.
On Sunday, the eight selected team members had the opportunity to compete in their events at the collegiate level. Participating in the 60-Meter Dash and Long Jump, Jaeyong Shim ’23 described the thrilling atmosphere of the meet.
“It was actually personally the first time I ever went to a college meet. It was a lot more vibrant than a classic Andover meet. There were a lot more teams, a lot more fans, and after my events I was just sitting on the bleachers and just watching the meet go by. It was really cool because the runners were a lot faster, [and] the jumpers jumped a lot further than what you would see at a typical high school meet, so it was an [honor],” said Shim.
Emerson Kington ’24, who ran in the 200-Meter and 400-Meter, highlighted Co-Captain Daniel Bae ’23 for his performance and drastic improvement from last season. According to Kington, Bae has become a role model through his consistently strong races and exemplary team spirit.
“I’d like to shout-out Daniel Bae. He’s our captain and he ran really well in both of his events. He ran the 60-meter-dash and the 200-meter. [I] would say he’s been working really hard, and it’s definitely paid off. Especially so early in the season. He’s much faster than he was at this point last season, so I’m really proud of him and his improvement,” said Kington.
In attendance at the invitational were colleges from both the Division I and Division III levels. Faced with harder competition, Shim found techniques to alleviate the pressure and stay relaxed leading up to his events.
“I tend to do a lot better when I’m less nervous so I think that’s what helps me get in the right headspace. Just to act like it’s natural and nothing too serious. But this was a wonderful opportunity for a group of people to go to a college meet and learn a lot and have another opportunity to get a personal record,” said Shim.
On Wednesday, team members had first place finishes in eight out of twelve events, propelling the team to a dominant victory. Despite competing in its last full-team meet more than a month ago, the team saw personal records (PRs) across the board, according to Andy Xu ’24. Xu achieved a PR in the 55-Meter Dash by 0.12 seconds.
“The atmosphere was conducive to PR’s, and I really felt the team energy coming into the first meet of 2023. I really felt like that kind of energy, where everyone was cheering each other on, was absolutely monumental to the team’s performance,” according to Xu.
Bae highlighted Shim and Constantine Krenteras ’24 for their performances in the 55-Meter Hurdles. Despite racing the event for the first time this season, Shim and Krenteras took first and second place, respectively.
“There was also development for our track team as a whole because we ran some relays, and we had some people try some different events. So for instance, the first time we raced this December, we [didn’t have] hurdles, but we had [Jaeyong] and Constantine in hurdles today. Shout out Jaeyong… He won it really easily, and it’s one of his first times hurdling in a race,” said Bae.
Participants in Wednesday’s meet displayed selflessness and spirit. Some stepped up to fill in legs of team relays, whereas others constantly cheered on teammates, according to Bae.
“The meet was full of a lot of ‘non sibi,’ clearly from those volunteering efforts, but also just a lot of joyous support…. I have not witnessed that much team spirit in a long time. Just seeing everyone huddled around the finish line after all fourteen boys and girls 55-Meter heats and cheering on our teammates was something really special,” said Bae.
The team will be hosting Austin Prep, Landmark, Lawrence High School, and Montrose on Wednesday.
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