Girls Indoor Track and Field Co-Captain Patricia Tran ’24 signifies strength and perseverance. As the only Upper captain in Indoor Track and Field, Tran has created a legacy for herself in only one year of competing. Despite her injury this season, Tran has remained consistent and dedicated to the support.
After playing soccer for most of her life, Tran tried outdoor track in the Spring of her Junior Year. Later during her Lower Year, she fully committed to distance running as it kept up the same intensity as soccer, and joined cross country and indoor track. After only one season, Tran was named as one of the four Indoor Track captains and the only Upper captain.
“In [the] Winter of my Lower Year, it was my first time ever doing Indoor Track. At that point, I was pretty invested in running. But I didn’t know that I would have enough experience in the sport to be able to lead the team. So it came by surprise [when I was chosen to be captain]. It was at the end of season celebration when they announced it. And I was literally not expecting it… So, two of my teammates [voted for me] and I just accepted it on a whim,” said Tran.
Emma Hagstrom ’25, who runs distance, commented on Tran’s commitment to her role. Hangstrom states that Tran exceeds her responsibilities as a captain by communicating with the whole team and taking initiative outside of her role.
Hagstrom said, “I think she really embodies the values that captains need to have. And I also think that she’s super kind. She fits the role for captain. I think she’s always going above and beyond and she made the Senior posters, she sent us emails weekly. She puts in a lot of dedication to this role. I really appreciate it.”
Tran explained how the tradition “Birthdays” motivates the team during practices and is prevalent as part of building an inclusive environment.
Tran said, “At the beginning, when we’re all together as a team, we try to take advantage of that. We have this thing called ‘Birthdays,’ where everybody stands in a circle. And we call someone as if it’s their birthday…and they come into the circle, and they lead jumping jacks. And I don’t know how the tradition came into play… I think that allows us to be inclusive of everyone and give them the opportunity to lead the team. And I think that’s empowering, especially if you’re young, and no one’s called on you to do something like that before.”
Part of being a Captain is engaging with people, both inside and outside of event groups. Tran embodies that role by branching out to different events and encouraging them. Tran’s favorite part is seeing people excel at their events as she cheers them on.
Tran said, “I just try to talk to everyone, just put on a good mood every single day of practice, bring some energy, and then always cheer as loud as possible for everyone because I think that gets people really hype. And one of my favorite things is when I’m cheering people on and at that moment, they speed up or they smile. That’s like one of my favorite things.”
She continued to discuss her injury that had persisted this cross country and track season. Although Tran had not competed in previous meets, the coaches encouraged her at the last minute to race during the Andover/Exeter meet.
“I’ve been injured this past year, on and off. And for [Phillips] Exeter [Academy], I wasn’t planning on racing this entire season, just because I was trying to build up. But because we wanted to win against Exeter, my coaches the night before [said,] ‘You’re just going to run for fun.’ So I did. And it was really fun. People were there supporting me and knowing that it was my first race back in practically a year. So I think every time I came through the homestretch, people were there cheering me on. And then I also broke my personal record [PR] from last year, even though I haven’t run consistently these past weeks. And I was just going for fun, in my sneakers, not even spikes. So I think it was one of the most memorable experiences,” said Tran.
Grace Hammond ’23 admired Tran’s grit and work ethic as she trained to overcome her injury. Hammond also credited Tran for her personal best time that she achieved, despite not racing during the season.
“I would say she’s a really hard worker. She’s always training at the track. I know she experienced [an] injury this year, and they put her in a race and she crushed it… She did such a great job. And I could tell she was super determined. And it was exciting that she had a great PR,” said Hammond.
With a strong support system, Tran successfully raced for the first time in the year. She dedicated the race to her coaches, who supported her every step of the way.
She said, “I think what kept me going was that my coaches were always there for me. Because even though I wasn’t racing, I wasn’t really contributing to the team [point wise], they still talked to me every day. They still provided advice. And I don’t think I would have made it through without their help… They still believed in me, especially three days ago. They put me on a whim, knowing that I was working hard and working tirelessly throughout these past weeks. And they still believed in me, and knew that I could still contribute to the team.”
Editor’s Note: Patricia Tran is the Executive Editor for The Phillipian.
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