From the very first meet of the indoor track and field season, a significant number of Edgemont’s athletes were already improving and hitting personal records, leading the coaches to predict a continued upward trend for the rest of the season.
Among the athletes making waves early is sophomore Lauren Allan, who has been climbing her way to the top and impressing her teammates and coaches with both her speed and endurance.
Allan joined the varsity cross-country team as an eighth-grader, having run outside of Edgemont athletics starting at an even younger age. She trained vigorously during spring track and was on the swim team during the fall, making this her first season of winter track. During the competitions, she runs the 400-meter, 600-meter and 1,000-meter, but takes a particular liking to the 600-meter.
Gillian Duffalo, who was team MVP last winter, has been chasing after the school’s record for the 600-meter, and was only one second from it last year. The first time Allan ran the 600 she didn’t know what to expect, and ran a 1:45.82, two seconds off the school record and one second off Duffalo’s best. From this starting time, the coaches expect the record to be broken this season.
Allan understands that practice is the only way to get better. “Working on different muscles in the gym, as well as the help from all the coaches to push everyone to their limits, helped me train for the 600,” she said.
The next time Allan ran the 600, she got boxed in during the beginning, causing her to run a 1:43.63, only a few hundredths of a second off the school record.
Being so close drove Allan to want this record even more. She knew it would be a challenge for her to break it at the next meet, the Section 1 Challenge, as she was going to have to run the 1,000-meter only 30 minutes before toeing the line in the 600-meter. “I didn’t expect anything out of my 600 because I was already tired.”
However, with no expectations in mind, Allan said, “It helped me lower my stress and just be excited rather than nervous to start my race.”
In the end, she finished with a time of 1:41.58, smashing the record by a full two seconds.
“Watching Lauren was amazing,” coach Nikki Rosee said. “I was holding back tears. We all knew it was going to happen after seeing how close she was during our last meet, but I didn’t know it was going to be so soon after. It goes to show everything I’ve said in the past, when you put in the work, you see results. She has absolutely put in the work.”
Allan will continue training hard, but said she doesn’t “have any specific time in mind.” She added, “I, of course, would love to shave a few more seconds, and hopefully be somewhere on the higher side of the 1:30s.”
While there have been many successes for Edgemont’s runners, it’s those who regularly attend practices and meets who are able to show the biggest strides. Track doesn’t have tryouts or cuts from the team, so it’s notorious that some join as a way to sign out of physical education.
This year, there has been an issue of some athletes not regularly participating, so the coaches decided to start cutting those who have missed an excessive number of unexcused practices.
“Cutting people from the team is definitely a new feeling, but I think the coaches are doing it for the better,” captain Dhatri Sangasani said. “Not attending meets and practices only hurts your performance as an athlete and it wastes the time of other athletes who strive to go far, and the time of the coaches who do their best to cater to each and every one of us, so we can unlock our full potential.”
Added Rosee, “When people don’t show up and don’t participate in practice, it makes it very difficult to participate in relays.”
There have been numerous meets when only a handful of runners were able to make it, making it hard to create any relay teams. Rosee said this “creates less of an opportunity for other runners” to participate in more races. Additionally, by having no relay teams and a small number of athletes competing in the first place, “It makes it harder to show we are a team.”
Now in her third season at Edgemont along with Camisha McKenzie-Laurent, Rosee is looking to create a new culture that proves there really is no “I” in “team.”