Records Broken, Bonds Forged in New Track Season

Time flies when you are running fast, and the Malden High Indoor Track team definitely feels this way as the season is already at the halfway mark. Many of the vital runners who help make this team competitive have set out to break their current personal records this season in their respective events.

Junior Slade Harding running the 1 mile. JESSICA LI

Junior runner Sean Retotal is “aiming to qualify for States with a 1:28 minute mark.” Retotal noted that “right now, I’m at 1:36, so I am aiming big this season.” Retotal is not the only one pushing himself this season. Also a junior, Slade Harding wants to bring his overall mile time down to a 4:50 pace. Harding added that “I also hope our 4 x 800 relay team is able to run under 9 minutes.”

Senior captain Nick Duggan touched not only on his records, but on a more overlooked part of running: becoming flexible, which drastically improves running endurance and speed. Duggan is also working on having “overall relaxation while running.” 

One of the more major changes made on the team  year is the hire of a new coach, Meghan McCormick. McCormick is as well qualified as they comehaving ran through her high school years and following that, competed for four years in indoor track, cross country, and outdoor track for Cornell University. Currently, McCormick runs for Battle Road Track Club in Boston and will be running her second Boston Marathon this spring.

McCormick was asked three questions about the upcoming season:

What are your goals as a coach this season?

“This season, I’m hoping to have all of my distance and mid-distance athletes run PRs (personal records) in at least one event! For the folks who are new to track, I want them to find at least one event they love and build their confidence in running further and faster than they ever have before. Most importantly, I hope they fall in love with running and become lifelong runners!”

How do you feel the chemistry of the team has come along?

Senior Rolando Mejia running 1000 meters. JESSICA LI

“Our team is all about building each other up. Since the very first practice, I’ve been incredibly proud of the way our athletes have worked together and supported one another on runs, during workouts, and in the gym. We have strong senior leadership with Nick, Emma, Rolando, Arnibish, and Sean, as well as other veterans on the team. They’ve done a great job setting the tone for the team and showing newcomers the ropes! There is a lot of love between the runners on this team, and I enjoy watching them cheer each other on, do our team cheer, and tackle new challenges as a group.”

Being a new coach, how are you working to get familiar with the team?

“I am extremely fortunate to work with the MHS Indoor Track team and they have been so welcoming to me as a new coach! Before the season started, I met with some team veterans to get a sense of their previous training, their race experience, and their goals for this season. Sometimes, I join them on runs, which is nice. Out on a run, you see a different side of athletes, and it gives you a chance to ask them about non-running topics. I love hearing how their classes are going, and I love asking them what they’re reading!”

Duggan commented on this new addition: “Coach McCormick has done so well uniting us and calming us before races.” He also believed that McCormick’s past as an elite level runner gave Malden High runners a new level of coaching and expertise, as Duggan also remarked that “she has so many valuable tips for us from her experience: she gives us amazing workouts that previous coaches gave her.”

Not only has McCormick led this team with coaching, but also Coaches Marc Ferrara and Michel-Le Meranda. Retotal added that “Ferrara has done a great job organizing us as a team.”Overall, junior Matteo Tah expressed appreciation for the fact that, “everytime a runner asks a coach for help, they never disappoint and always know how to support us.”

Senior Agambir Singh in the 1 Mile Run. JESSICA LI

Duggan, from a captain’s perspective, noticed that there has been “consistent growth among the team,” and that the hardest part for the captain is “making running fun for everyone so that everyone feels included.”

The common denominator between all of the members who were interviewed was the mention of a wonderful track community which has been built up. Harding stated,“Everyone is so supportive of each other and it makes the sport more enjoyable.” Similarly, Retotal admires the tight-knit bonds on the team, saying that  “all of these people are my friends and I really want to see them succeed.”

However, Coach  McCormick summed up the ambition of the MHS Indoor Track Team best: “We’re ready to be competitive in the GBL and run some best times on the track!”

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