By Bella Slosberg (L17)
Track is back – and it’s bigger and better than ever.
After a four-year hiatus, the track program at Upper Campus has reemerged this spring, drawing nearly a third of the student body to run, jump and throw as part of the 12-team Omega League.
From league champion cross country runners to flat-out beginners, athletes of all levels have been working since early February to prepare themselves for the season.
“I chose to run track because it’s such a great community and everybody is so supportive – plus I love running fast,” explained junior Corbin Muller, who this week, in just his second track meet, won the 100-meter dash, earned second place in the 200-meter, third place in the long jump and ran the lead leg on a 4 x 100-meter relay team that finished third.
“My goal for the team is that I want us all to finish better than when we came in,” Corbin said, “as runners and as people.”
After competing in the Condor League for decades, and producing league championships and multiple individual league champions, the OVS track program shut down after the 2014 spring season due to league realignment.
The Cate and Thacher schools left the Condor League after that year, and none of the schools that remained had the facilities to keep their track programs running. However, a move this year to the Omega League has resurrected the track program at Upper, providing a showcase for a slew of talented athletes.
“I’m really happy that our student athletes once again have access to this sport,” track coach Fred Alvarez said. “There’s so much athletic talent at our school and now our track athletes have the opportunity to demonstrate that talent on a large stage.”
Over the past two weeks, that talent has been on full display as the track season has shifted into full gear. Last week, the Spuds competed in their second league meet of the season, with several runners, jumpers and throwers setting personal bests for the early season.
On the boys’ side, the 4 x 100 relay team — which in addition to Corbin featured sophomore Gabe Weisiger (L17), junior Siyu Lai (L16) and senior Soham Kondle — blasted to a third-place finish. Other notable showings included a fifth place finish by Gabe in the 400-meter dash and a personal best effort by sophomore Ethan Gao (L17) in the 800- and 1600-meter runs.
On the girls’ side, sophomore Bella Slosberg (L17) and junior Caspian Ellis (L16) had strong showings in the 800 and 1600, and OVS’s fastest 200-meter runners were a pair of freshmen — Marley Burroughs and CatieJo Larkin (L18), who is new to the sport altogether.
Like many who joined track, CatieJo said she is especially pleased with the team environment and peer support at practices and meets, which make an optimal environment for improvement and motivate runners to challenge themselves, all while having fun and bonding with teammates.
“Track is a lot better that I thought it would be,” said CatieJo, who also ran the 100-meter dash and the lead leg on the 4 x 100-meter relay team in the first meet. “The conditioning is hard but we’re getting into it and it’s becoming really fun.”