Spring track: Running 115 strong


Credit: Sasha Libenzon

From left to right, freshman Katie White, sophomore Caitlin Heus-Smith, junior Anika Frutman and freshman Annie McQuilkin pose with the baton before their track meet. The WHS spring track team is made up of 115 athletes between the boys and girls teams this season.

Bella Schreiber and Selena Liu

Nearly halfway through the season, the Wayland High School’s spring track team has reached its highest membership in a long time, with the boys and girls team adding up to a total of 115 athletes.

“[The sudden increase in membership] of any program tends to be exciting and daunting at the same time,” WHS track coach Allison LaClaire said. “We have 115 names to learn, 115 different personalities and new approaches on training to manage and hopefully help the team excel. It takes twice as long [compared to past years] to document results and other data we track for a successful program but it’s worth it.”

Due to the high membership, the coaches also picked more captains to ensure the team can be efficient. There are three distance captains, three sprinting captains and four jumping and throwing captains.

“My main role as a captain has been to be a leader for the rest of the team,” junior captain Julia DeGrenier said. “Captains also help ensure that the meets run smoothly and communicate people’s concerns or needs to the coaches because there are way more athletes than coaches. We also run a team Instagram account and plan psychs for our meets.”

Although some have found the increase in athletes to be exciting, some issues have arisen due to the large increase in membership.

“The main issue with the influx of players is that there are a lot of people to organize and keep in check,” DeGrenier said. “Sometimes it’s hard because some people are just bound to not care or put in as much effort as others, which leads to frustration for both the coaches and team members.”

According to the coaches, the influx of players could likely be due to the track community’s willingness to welcome and engage with athletes who have never done track before.

“Track is a nice alternative for people that aren’t very serious about a spring sport,” sophomore Emma Alongi said. “It’s a nice thing to do to keep people moving and active. It’s also very easy to join and you won’t feel behind, even if it’s your first year.”

Alongi started track for the first time this year and has already found herself enjoying each practice and meet. She feels included by her teammates, even those who she only met recently. According to DeGrenier, the team captains have tried their best to include and encourage every team member, whether they’ve been doing track since elementary school, like DeGrenier, or just started this year.

“I’ve been doing track since the Nighthawks program in elementary school,” DeGrenier said. “I do track because I really like the environment of the team and because practices are always fun.”

This year, both the girls and the boys teams have performed better than in the past, with athletes scoring in events that Wayland hasn’t scored in for years.

“We swept the girls triple jump event at our Weston meet,” LaClaire said. “The last time I coached a girl in triple jump was 2017. It’s probably been that long since we’ve had boys scoring in the high jump, and this year we gained points in that event.”

Unlike other team sports in which athletes rely on their teammates during competitions, track is more about personal victories according to DeGrenier.

“I really enjoy racing in meets,” DeGrenier said. “The thrill you get from racing is very different from a lot of other sports because it’s so reliant on you, but it’s very rewarding.”

During races, each team member’s success depends on their own effort rather than a collective effort by the team. Because of that, the coaches and captains feel it is important to have friends and teammates supporting each other while each person competes.

“Everyone who is a part of track is so supportive, no matter how fast or how slow you are,” Alongi said. “People walk around the track cheering you on during the race, even people you don’t even really know or just met. No one is judgmental at all.”