By Miles Thomas, Staff Writer
// Records shatter under the thundering footsteps of runners, jumpers, and throwers as their phenomenal season comes to an end.
The Acalanes Track and Field team saw massive success this season that included athletes breaking multiple school records, the boys’ team taking first place in the league, and the girls’ team placing second.
Sophomore Paul Kuhner, sophomore Trevor Rogers, junior Ethan Torres, and junior Kyle Bielawski broke the school record in the men’s 4x100m at 41.66s. Rogers also broke the long jump this May with a distance of 22’10” and Kuhner is third all time in the 200m with a time of 22.24s. In addition, sophomore Olivia Williams ran the 3200m in 10:24:85 and the 1600m in 4:55:41, breaking school records for both. Kuhner also broke the 100m record with a time of 10.82s.
These accomplished athletes trailblaze a path to greatness for the rest of the team, acting as an inspiration and a role model to everyone around them.
“Everyone can repeat this 1,000 times but Olivia Williams, breaking the record over the [3200m] and the [1600m]. Doing what she does is honestly an inspiration to our team,” Kuhner said.
Aside from the talent and skill that the Track and Field team possesses, the competitors attribute their success to more than just their work ethic or natural gifts. Competitors claim that team bonding and the environment in which they practice helps them perform.
“[Team bonding] can for sure be [important] on [Track and Field] [because] you get a team score based on [each persons] finished individual [score]. So if you know that there are people that are counting on you to steal a point or to win a certain event and you’re more inclined or you have extra motivation to do well, it goes beyond just your own personal improvement,” Distance Track coach Bruno Morlan said.
The close-knit community of Track and Field creates opportunities for leadership from the juniors and seniors. Many frosh and sophomores remark at how well their seniors support and uplift the program as well as how they shine in representing the sport.
“My brother Michael [Kuhner] and Lauren Yee… are just a couple of [seniors] that our younger kids take inspiration from and are fantastic leaders for our team. They represent us super well and I think it’s all about that family aspect that helped our team this year,” sophomore Paul Kuhner said.
Having an outlet to form new personal connections with people helps the athletes work harder. When everyone cheers each other on and improves together, the athletes feel their commitment to and enjoyment of the sport grows.
“[The supporting community] makes [Track and Field] 1,000 times better. Being able to know everyone on a personal level and being able to joke with people [helps make connections], but everyone is serious about their events. We want to win. We are all about having fun and being the best people we can be,” Kuhner said.
The season wrapped up with exhilarating success for the athletes. The desire to train and continue on the trajectory of success seems to be a natural assumption right after the season. However, coaches suggest an alternate plan of action.
“[Athletes should] rest. Then maybe in July, we’ll get together and we’ll start running again. But after they finish their last race, they should take two to three weeks off from running,” Morlan said.
Frosh and sophomore athletes contributed heavily to this season’s success, with two sophomores on the team that broke records in the 4x100m.
“Our [4x100m team] broke the record. I broke the school record which I thought was pretty cool, but you can never settle with that much and you always want more. So we are going out, we are reaching for going undefeated next year, beating [Campolindo] for our girls,” Kuhner said.
The students in the program predict that the influx of athletes interested in Track and Field from incoming frosh will strengthen the team and lead to an even more explosive season than this year. Despite losing valuable seniors to graduation, the mood remains upbeat as juniors prepare to adopt leadership positions on the team.
“I think next year is [going to] be really good because this year was the first year back from the [COVID-19] season and we did really well, so having another year and having athletes come from Stanley and other middle schools will [make us] even stronger. We will do great,” junior Portia Seymour said.
As the season comes to a close, the contestants look forward to the postseason. They prioritize their physical fitness in the offseason. Emphasizing conditioning as a precursor to performance, the Track and Field team takes their postseason very seriously.
“Right now we are focused on post-season, guys went 5-0, girls went 4-1. I give a lot of credit to our coaches; they did a great job. But thinking about next year, it’s getting started early. [The key to success] is getting in shape as early as you can,” Kuhner said.