The boys' track and field team finished the winter season with impressive results on the national stage.
"This season has been filled with unbelievable accomplishments and truly special memories that I will never forget," said Head Coach Zach Richards, Hon.
Freshman Abaas Hunter got things started on Thursday, March 9, as he crossed the finish line in first place, winning the freshman 400m at New Balance Nationals and setting a new school record of 49.52.
"The 400m freshman win was indeed a big achievement for me," shared Abaas. "While it was a new school record and I won the race, I still felt like I had a little more on me. Track is more mental than physical, so if you focus on the goal trying to be achieved, then it’s easy to adjust and compete to the fullest extent."
On Friday, March 10, EA's distance medley relay of Aidan McHugh '23, Abaas Hunter '26, Dakin Ebmeyer '23, and Michael Woolery '24 ran away with the national championship at Nike Indoor Nationals. The team's time of 10:08.93 is the third fastest in the country. Watch post-race DMR interviews.
"The atmosphere was unmatched," said Michael Woolery.
"Winning the DMR was the best feeling ever!" said Abaas. "We went into the race focused and determined to win. My strategy was getting my team the lead and I think I executed that exactly when handing off to Dakin."
On Saturday, AJ Koukou '24 also threw the shot put and Michael Woolery competed in the 800m. "Just qualifying to compete in the national championship is a huge accomplishment," said Coach Richards.
"They have raced in lots of big races over the past few years, and there were some bumps along the way. They needed to experience some tough performances so they could learn," said Coach Jim Farrell '82. "You need to run against the best teams to know how far along you are."
On Sunday, March 12, the 4x800m relay closed out its final indoor race of the season against the top teams in the country. After the final bell, Michael Woolery made his move, running a 1:52.30 anchor split to secure the silver with a time of 7:45.61.
"I felt like I had a job as the anchor leg to bring it home strong for the rest of the guys who raced so very hard before me," said Michael. "So the last lap, I thought about everyone else on my relay who fought and I did the same picking off as many runners as possible. It was just another gear that is always hard to explain once the race is finished."
"The kids, fortunately, have competed in some big events already. They actually seemed calm at practice and just excited about the opportunities over the weekend," said Coach Richards. "I think it also helped to have the spring track season begin two weeks ago. Just having more kids around at practice kept things normal."
"The success of the fall and qualifying for Nationals really helped the boys believe," said Coach Farrell. "The kids were very confident coming off the win at the Pennsylvania Indoor State Championships. They believed they could win races against the best teams in the country. I believed we were very well prepared for this weekend."
Adding to the season accolades, Coach Zach Richards was named Coach of the Year by MileSplitPA. "I'm honored and very appreciative of the recognition," he said. "I view the Coach of the Year award as a team accomplishment. There is no Coach of the Year without hard-working kids, dedicated assistant coaches, supportive parents, and a first-rate athletics department. I'm grateful for everyone involved in making this season such a success. This award is really their award and another overall team accomplishment."
"These boys are amazing young men," reflected Coach Farrell. "They really are like brothers in the way they support each other and run for each other. I feel so lucky to be able to work with them every day. It really is a pleasure, and I am very proud of them."
Nike Indoor Nationals took place at The Armory in New York City. New Balance Indoor Nationals was held in Boston.
"In Boston, it was such a new and fun experience to race on a technologically new, fast, track," shared Michael. "It was great to run against the competition that we felt like we were made for. All year we have been ranked the top in the country, so to finally race against the guys and also put similar times down across the country was a great experience."
"The travel wasn’t much of a problem because I love running and my dad loves watching, so he didn’t mind driving me all around," said Abaas. "And getting all the attention and new gear from Nike was amazing, too!"
6ABC featured the team as they took off for their big weekend.