Making strides

My “junior spring” has been characterized by momentous strides, and I mean that quite literally. As of March 3, I joined Sacred Heart’s brand-new 2014 track and field team.

I had played lacrosse since eighth grade and had come to realize that for me, the best part of the game was my runs down the field. I once had run track in third grade for my elementary school in California with my entire four-foot-three self, hurling at 0.5 miles per hour towards the finish line.

We did not really know what to expect, though, on the first day of practice because despite our fantastic facilities at Convent of the Sacred Heart, we have no actual track. However, we are lucky enough to be under the guidance of three experienced coaches, each of whom has competed in races during his college career and beyond.

The girls that signed up, including myself, have had little to no previous exposure in track and field. We all hoped to find a stress outlet and a source of exercise by signing up for track. Little did we know about the community and friendships that we would build within the coming weeks.

Coaches Drew, Jordan and Tony have instilled in us a sense of confidence and determination. These values have driven us since the first day of the season. They have continually encouraged us to push harder, to reach our full potentials. They have challenged us beyond our breaking points, whether by making us run ten 300-meter intervals in the pouring rain, or doing 15-minute sprints up the hills of our CSH campus. Within the first week of track, I had signed up to run sprints, because I felt confident in my short-distance speed. However, my coaches slyly convinced me to run the 400-meter race. While this is physically and mentally grueling, I still take pride in the fact that they helped me to recognize my capabilities as a runner.

As our enthusiasm continues to soar, so do our race times. At our first meet at Choate Rosemary Hall, we all walked in thinking that we would be mortified, being the deadweights alongside nationally ranked distance runners and sprinters of these competitive Northeastern boarding schools.

But, just three meets later, we have already had nine runners qualify for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Championships in which we, the amateur Sacred Heart Tigers, will face our toughest competition from schools all around the Northeast.

My track experience goes to show that starting a new activity at the end of a high school career can be a complete identity change. I have realized, through the helping hands of my coaches and captains, that it is really never too late to try something new.

High school is usually defined as the day-to-day routine of homework, tests and studying, while college is considered to be the culmination of opportunity. But, I say, why not try now? Why not try out new things? And this has made the most stressful time of my life, junior spring, all the better, knowing that I have an outlet where I can push my stress aside and focus on the course.

A new baton has been handed to me, and there is no turning back until I cross the finish line.

 

Sarah Jackmauh is a junior at Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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