Track & Field “Opts-In” to the Spring Season

Daniel Bae ’23 placed first in the Boys 100-Meter and 200-Meter Dash against Andover High School.

Ozochi Onunaku ’25 competed in the Long Jump and 100-Meter Dash on Saturday.

Lily Keim ’25 placed first in the Girls 400-Meter Dash with a time of 1:03.99.

Andover Track and Field (PATF) opened its season against Andover High on Saturday, with the boys and girls teams losing 75-61 and 72-62, respectively. Notable performances, however, were brother-sister duo Grant DeHoog ’25 and Nor DeHoog ’24, who both placed first in Discus. 

Nor said, “I’m super proud of [Grant]. I feel like I have to say that as his older sibling, but just seeing the fact that he’s so passionate about something that I am, as well. And it’s something that we both went into at the same time, it’s been really nice to just have an hour and a half out of our day that’s together where we’re doing something that we both love. And I really do enjoy spending a lot of time with him throughout the season.”

Nathan Neu ’26, who typically competes in distance events, enjoyed his first meet. He emphasized the importance of utilizing the first meet as a “benchmark” – a gauge of a person’s performance relative to the training they are doing.

“It actually went pretty well. Even though the conditions were not the best for running, I would say that I ran very well. And we [came up with] a benchmark for everyone to see where we are, as of now. And even though it was sort of a benchmark [meet], everybody still raced really well. And everybody was really positive about the race,” said Neu. 

Aside from overcoming nerves, Nor elaborated on the team’s goals going forward. One of which is working towards achieving more camaraderie and familiarity with each other, according to Nor. 

“I think it really takes the drive and the compassion and the team spirit to really motivate you to get into that circle alone. So I think with the first meet, we were a little bit more individual than I would have liked. Just because I think we were all really nervous for that first time,” said Nor. 

As the competition becomes more intense, the team must improve physically and mentally, according to Neu. The way Neu engaged with his teammates this meet was through “opting in,” a phrase coaches reiterated in practice to help motivate the group. 

“A lot of people on the team right now are sort of not always opted in. The coaches always say, ‘Opt in. Give it your all and cheer on your opponents. Cheer on your teammates.’ And I feel like that’s something we need to work on this season. And considering that we’re coming off a break, it’s a really good time to work on form and aerobic capacity,” said Neu.

Robby Swan ’25, who competed in Long Jump and the 100-Meter Dash, spoke on the training leading up to the meet. Specifically in regards to the jumpers on the team, a lot more emphasis going forward will be placed on improving technique, according to Swan.  

“Although you want to jump the farthest, you want to be able to get high, get up so that you can go and be in the air as long as you can to get as far as you can… I’ve talked to my teammates a lot, and they have some problems with getting height as well. So I think we’re all going to try and work on that…We’re still having fun, but I hope to become a little bit more focused,” said Robby.

Now that PATF has had its first meet, the next few weeks in the season will be critical in preparing for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Championships (Interschols), which Andover will be hosting. With new prospects, the future looks bright, according to Swan.

“We definitely opted in because this meet was a bit earlier in the season. We were not really thrown into it, but we only had around one or two weeks to practice before this meet. So I think we definitely had to be in the right mindset and worked really hard those weeks… We have a lot more potential and there’s so much more that we can do with this season,” said Swan.

Andover Track and Field will compete away against Deerfield and Taft this Saturday.