Indoor track perseveres outside

Owen Atkins, Jonathan Norton, Borja Tolay, and Zach Utz compete in a long-distance race at a recent track meet. — Charlie Utz

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) indoor track team has broken records, endured harsh weather, and stayed positive during their first ever outdoor indoor track season. Other adjustments included the wearing of masks during competition, a decrease in the number of team members, and a shorter season that lasted from March 1 – April 17.

Athletic director Mark McCarthy commended the track team for their performance this season and their high spirits. “The team did very well. Most of these runners and track athletes hadn’t competed against anyone since February 2020, so they were happy and they were excited to finally be running against other people,” he said.

Junior Anabelle Biggs, who in addition to indoor track also runs cross country and outdoor track, broke two school records with 42.9 seconds in the 300 meter and 7.45 seconds in the 55m this season. Along with Anabelle, junior Zach Utz beat the school record in the one mile with 4.29.21 minutes and junior Nick Pecararo broke the record for the 300m with a time of 38.44 seconds.

However, because this season of indoor track was run outdoors, those records will not count.

“At the beginning of the season, we didn’t really have a lot of competition, and I found it hard to perform well when you’re not racing against other athletes that are on the same level as you,” said Anabelle But at the most recent meets, we went against some pretty great teams, and that’s when I was able to PR (personal record).”

Junior Borja Tolay, who beat his PR in the two mile with 10:17, commented on the challenge of his run. “After not racing for so long and finally starting again, reaching my PR felt like a difficult task. Almost felt like starting from zero again. However, as Coach Joe says, it’s all about staying consistent and peaking at the right moment.’’

While COVID-19 restrictions did initially result in fewer kids going out for indoor track, Anabelle thinks the team dynamic wasn’t negatively impacted.  “It definitely was hard, a lot of kids left the team,” she said. “The only kids that are on the team now are those who are pretty serious about track, and I think this has brought us together. We’re able to get to know one another better [now].”

Coach Joe Schroeder regarded the smaller team size as a blessing in disguise. “We really bonded. This core group of kids is as close as I’ve ever had a team in these seven years of indoor track. They really dedicated themselves and persevered throughout the [season].”

While athletes and coaches are unsure about what next year’s indoor track season will look like, for now they are focusing on the upcoming outdoor track season starting in a few weeks. Anabelle said, “I’ve done a lot of endurance training and gotten stronger, which will help me during outdoor season. Hopefully I achieve some more PRs!”

Mr. McCarthy is optimistic for the next season. “We are hoping this spring [outdoor track] season will be a little bit more normal. The athletes are going to be running the distances and running on the surface they would usually be running on,” said Mr. McCarthy. “Normally it would be 50-55 kids but this year we only ran 25, both boys and girls. We are hoping this spring we can get that number back up.”