The Léman Bulls Running Like the Wind

By Eliana Friedman

Photo Credits to LiliLili Sposato
Léman’s co-ed, spring track season is in motion, comprised of dedicated runners from 7th grade all the way up to 11th.
Léman’s track athletes have a wide range of experience in the sport, some of which have only started running competitively this year. One of the new team members is Blair Walsh who says, “I just started running this year, and I find that it has definitely made me a stronger athlete as a whole.” As a sophomore at Léman, Blair, among several other runners on her team, agreed that track has helped their athletic abilities grow in every aspect. Whether it’s track meets, practices, or simply the relationships the runners have with their teammates, the Léman track team is a place where each person can learn to become a better athlete, no matter how much experience they have.
Head track coach, Ms. Molina, has been coaching track “for almost 20 years” and is now coaching alongside her two assistant coaches; Coach Atlas and Coach Lenaghan. While Coach Molina “train[s] the mid and long distance runners… Coach Atlas and Coach Lenaghan train the sprinters.” The three coaches split up the training of their runners based on event rather than age because “All events are the same for both middle school and high school runners”.
Like most sports at Léman, the Léman track team has practice several times a week. As a result of Léman not having their own track field, practices are held outdoors near Battery Park. Each practice lasts 45 minutes to an hour, and occur from Tuesday to Thursday. Every event calls for a slightly different method of practicing to produce the best results for the meets. Coach Molina says that while the sprinters “train on speed and technique”, the mid-distance to long distance runners “train on stamina, endurance and somewhat speed.” Showing up for practice is crucial for the part you play in a track team. Practice prepares you for competition, and is a huge part in how you represent your school and your team in the races you run.
Track holds a lot of opportunity for those interested in the sport, considering the variety of races there are to compete in. Track runner Esther Ganda is currently in 11th grade and has been running since elementary school. She says, “My favorite race to run is the 4x100. I’m a 100 meter and 200 meter sprinter, so short distances work best for me.” Through Esther’s experience with the sport, she has found that sprinting - particularly in the 100 meter and 200 meter races - is the best way in which she can participate on her team. Runner Genevieve Corren, on the other hand, is a longer - distance runner who runs the 800 meter race. Genevieve explains that she “ Like[s] it because I’m good at pacing my running for that distance.” As an 8th grade student at Léman, Genevieve has just started track this year, and is loving the long distance running the sport has to offer.
The Léman track team is part of two leagues; the ISAL and the ACIS. These are the leagues in which meets are organized. Blair Walsh explains that “Most of our meets, so far, have been in the Bronx or Brooklyn, which have either taken from 30 minutes to an hour to get there.” Traveling to meets makes your dedication to the track team all the more important. Traveling to a meet, participating in the meet - while also cheering your teammates on through their own races - and then having to travel back home, is draining. As Esther Ganda says, “It takes a long time. Going there we’re all happy and smiling and playing music. Coming back, everyone’s sleeping.” The hard work the runners dedicate to each meet takes a lot of effort, but is part of the experience of being on a track team, or any sport in general.
One of the biggest parts of being on a team is the kind of relationship you have with your teammates. Whether it’s during practices, or meets, the support of teammates helps with the confidence of each runner and helps form meaningful relationships on the track team and even outside of the sport. Esther Ganda shares that her favorite memory this season was when “The boys were running the 4x200 and… our team was doing really well, and we all got up and ran around the track as the boys were running. It was amazing to see how we are so supportive of eachother”. The relationship the track runners have with each other is special and comes with recognizing that they are all competing individually for a common goal.
Go Bulls!