Andover Indoor Track and Field officially began its season at Boston University’s (BU) world-renowned facility. On Saturday, just three distance runners, Emma Hagstrom ’25, Anya Budzinski ’26, and Storrie Kulynych-Irvin PG’24, competed at the annual Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener.
Going into the meet, each runner adjusted to the highly competitive environment, racing alongside college athletes. Competing in the 1-Mile, Kulynych-Irvin shared her knowledge of the famous BU indoor track, recalling record-breaking races at the facility.
Kulynych-Irvin said, “I had never raced at BU before, but I’ve heard of it, and I’ve known about it for years since it’s regarded as the fastest track in the nation, and I’d say it didn’t disappoint. We were there early, so we didn’t get to see the 5K NCAA records, but right after I finished, I watched some people run sub-four-minute miles, which was really impressive and cool to see.”
Competing in the 3000-Meter, Hagstrom’s performance was propelled by the surrounding college-level athletes. She spoke about her race plan, which helped her to finish in a time of 10:11.24.
“The atmosphere was definitely intense. There were a lot of runners and a lot of competition throughout the track. I think it definitely gave me something to work towards. I knew going into the race that it was going to be hard. There can be a lot of girls pushing the pace throughout the race. My goal was just to stick with them for as long as I could and see what I could do during the meet,” said Hagstrom.
Hagstrom’s performance secured her a place at the 2024 New Balance Nationals Indoor, which will be held in Boston on the weekend of March 7.
“Throughout the race, I tried to respond to the moves of all the other runners. I think it was about the halfway point and a lot of girls started surging and it was hard to pick it up. So I tried to stick with them and keep it up for the last half of the race. It was definitely a challenge, of course, and I was really tired, so I had to work for it, but I’m happy with how I did,” said Hagstrom.
Budzinski, who finished the 1-Mile in 5:22.83, noted how her training from the most recent cross country season gave her a significant edge in the early season.
Budzinski said, “It was a solid opener. I wanted to get a faster time, but I’m still working on the transition from cross country. But it was really fun to get out on the track and do a track race with my fitness from cross country. I definitely felt that I had more aerobic strength in the mile than I had before.”
Budzinski has big aspirations for the upcoming season. She hopes to use the experience at BU to help her grow in the upcoming meets.
Budzinski said, “For the winter track season, I want to qualify for Nationals. The Nationals meet is a big event in Boston. It’s very fun and exciting and there are some pretty hard qualifying standards. I’m definitely working towards faster times and hopefully, we can also bring a relay team, which would be really exciting.”
Kulynych-Irvin, who finished the 1-Mile in 5:31.39, shared similar sentiments, expressing her excitement for the indoor track season after a successful cross country season. She is looking forward to seeing growth in the distance group.
“I was just coming out of a season of Cross Country, so that was my only base for this meet. I had a great time on the cross country team this fall and I felt really welcomed into Andover, which was a great experience. I think the core of our distance group will still be in indoor track, and I’m excited to see how we continue to evolve,” said Kulynych-Irvin.
Andover Girls Indoor Track and Field will host Andover High School on Wednesday.