Track Team Gets off to a Running Start

Evan Liberman, Managing Editor

After a successful 2020-21 season, the Track and Field team is looking to run, pole vault and high jump into even better results–and the team’s results so far indicate they’re on their way to doing just that. 

Last year, both the men’s and women’s teams, after winning the district competition, saw several people make it all the way to the FHSAA state competition. This included noteworthy performances from junior Sophia Buller, who finished fourth in the Girls 400-meter race, and junior Darrell Sweeting, who secured second place in the Boys Long Jump. 

In just a few meets so far this season, both the boys’ and girls’ teams have secured several high-placed finishes, including at the Dwyer Invitational on Mar. 2 and the 17th annual Jupiter Warrior Invitational on Mar. 5. Among these meets were a couple of first-place finishes for the boys’ team, who, on their path to victory, beat out larger public schools like William T. Dwyer High School. 

Commenting on part of the team’s performance so far, Matthew Postman, captain of the distance team, was optimistic about the team, but also saw some areas for improvement. 

“The team overall has done fantastic so far this year, but we have to work on the number of points the distance team gets per meet. I feel responsible for this, and it has to be a goal for me and the rest of the distance guys to come together and make sure we do more for the team,” the senior noted.

Similarly, sophomore Savannah Maynard, who competes in the 800-meter race and the 4×800 meter race, explained that the team can be successful at every event, but that when people participate in multiple events in a single day, it becomes difficult for them to perform their best in each one. 

However, echoing Postman, she noted that this year’s team is strong and has many great athletes. “We also mesh well together, so it’s easy to work with each other,” she explained.

The overall goal, according to Head Coach Barrett Saunders ‘03 is to improve every meet. “While it sounds like a cliché, it’s important to be constantly improving or [the team] won’t reach its long term goals,” Saunders said.

While some of the success is driven by this team spirit and the athletes’ motivation to compete, “it really all comes down to coaching,” according to Postman–referring to both Coach Saunders and Assistant Coach and Social Studies teacher Mr. Nick Cramer. “Coach Saunders is so knowledgeable about the sport and has taught me so much. It’s incredible to see a Benjamin alumnus be so successful in coaching current Buccaneers. I’ve also really grown a lot under Mr. Cramer–he has personally made me a better runner by setting higher standards for me every day,” he added. 

Looking ahead, Postman believes that due to the team’s immense skill, they should make it past districts and regionals and return to the state competition. “It isn’t going to be easy, but we all have to work hard to make it to where we want to be,” stated Postman, who typically runs in the 1600 and 3200-meter races.

Coach Saunders believes that the success the team hopes to achieve later on in the season will come from the team’s several bright spots in various areas. As it relates to the girls’ team, he noted sophomore Kori Haggard’s versatility and junior Sophia Buller’s athleticism–she is ranked the fifth-best in the county. Saunders also highlighted portions of the boys’ team–specifically the throwing group

“The throwers have really stepped up this season. [They are] led by Calvin Bowens, Jackson Hamilton, and Quinn Broderick; however newcomers Landon Rapkiewicz, Chase Malamala, and Sean Rooney have also helped give us more depth and thus made our throwing group one of the best in the county,” Saunders told The Pharcyde

Coach Saunders believes that if the team continues to improve throughout the season and keep their competitive spirit, they will have a great season.