Pride and progress: Middle school track and field team reflects on season

Track+and+field+team+members+Coco+Takessian+%2828%29%2C+Nissara+Shah+%2828%29+and+Mia+Goldberg+%2828%29%2C+get+in+their+positions+to+start+running+in+a+track+event+at+Brentwood+School+April+20.+It+is+a+really+tiring+sport%2C+but+I+love+the+team+so+much%2C+Farah+Sandoval+%2828%29+said.+We+all+were+equally+exhausted+and+worn+out%2C+so+%5Bthe+team%5D+all+had+fun+and+joked+about+it+after.

Photo credit: Nina Sperling

Track and field team members Coco Takessian (’28), Nissara Shah (’28) and Mia Goldberg (’28), get in their positions to start running in a track event at Brentwood School April 20. “It is a really tiring sport, but I love the team so much,” Farah Sandoval (’28) said. “We all were equally exhausted and worn out, so [the team] all had fun and joked about it after.”

By Nina Sperling, Staff Reporter

The middle school track and field team crossed their season’s finish line with new personal and team records. The team participated in four meets throughout the season.

The team’s first meet was March 19 at Lincoln Middle School, where they earned first place in the 4 by 100-meter relay. In their second meet at Brentwood School, the team placed third in the 4 by 100-meter relay and fourth in the 4 by 400-meter relay. Additionally, eighth grader Shayla Covington set a personal record with an 11 foot 10 inch long jump. In their third meet at Malibu High School, the team placed fourth in the 4 by 400-meter relay, and Alex Bridwell (’27) placed third in the 400-meter event. The team placed third in the 4 by 400 and the 4 by 100-meter relays in their Pacific Basin League final at Malibu High School, which was their last meet of the season.

The team practiced twice a week on Archer’s backfield and twice a week on the Lincoln Middle School track in Santa Monica. Sixth grader Farah Sandoval said their training and preparations for their meets were difficult, but throughout the season, many individuals on the team set personal records. Eighth grader Elle Vandeweghe earned first place in the high jump, and eighth grader Ella Saulnier placed second in the 800-meter race. Sandoval set a personal record this season, finishing 6:42 for the 1600-meter event in the team’s third meet.

Assistant Coach Crispin Houston tracked all of his team’s running times, skills and field events and said by the end of the season, he saw steady progress and improvements in each individual.

“What I enjoyed most was the improvement throughout the season and seeing the smiles on my athletes’ faces when they do well at the finish line,” Houston said. “They know they worked hard, and they were proud of themselves, so that was my favorite moment.”

Sandoval said one of the greatest lessons she learned this season was the mental endurance needed for running track.

“It is a really tough sport, and it’s a mental game too. Especially for the longer races, you have to stay focused, and it’s really hard. So, everyone did a really great job,” Sandoval said. “It’s honestly such a good sport because you have all of these times where you can easily tell when you’re improving, and it feels really good.”

Even though, at times, progress seemed “impossible,” seventh grader Gretchen Arnall said the team was a great source of support for her. Arnall said one of the aspects she most enjoyed this season was the bond she formed with her team, even though their arduous practices left her exhausted.

“It’s nice to know you have teammates with you and to socialize with them and enjoy a sense of accomplishment after you run,” Arnall said. “Any time that one of my teammates [wins], I’m always really proud of them.”

Looking back at the season, Sandoval said the best gift she gained was the growth mindset that defines Archer’s athletic teams and spirit.

“It’s a great sport,” Sandoval said. “I would encourage all of the sixth graders next year or new seventh graders [and] eighth graders to do track because I’ve met so many people on track who [have said], ‘I can’t run,’ and then they win.”