For the second year in a row, a group of our best track and field athletes qualified for the prestigious Penn Relays, one of the oldest and most competitive meets in the nation held the last weekend in April. As our athletes warmed up on the University of Pennsylvania track and prepared themselves mentally for the races ahead, their classmates back in New York gathered in a classroom to watch the competition’s live stream and shout encouragement to teams 100 miles away. To me, this collective cheering exemplifies the nature of track and field at Success Academy.
Track is an incredibly demanding sport. To improve, our athletes set goals that at times seem out of reach — and they rely on the support of their teammates and classmates to help them persevere. They spend so much time together that they’ve come to function like a family, practicing in the mornings and after school, hurdling in the hallways, and sprinting down the corridors. The entire school has become invested in their progress.
Last year, we qualified for the Penn Relays for the first time. Our scholars were some of the youngest at the competition, and while they didn’t bring home the coveted Penn plaque, I was proud and pleased with our results. At the same time, all of us were determined to return and do even better. This year, we added two new coaches to the track program, Simone Grant and Shawn Carrington. Coach Grant was a track star in college at University of the District of Columbia (she was the East Coast Conference athlete of the year) and Coach Carrington is a certified trainer who has worked with olympians and professional runners. They have truly changed the way we approach training, with their expertise allowing us to shakeup the warmups, the workouts, and even the diet plans for our scholars over the past year.
The result: Our girls team shaved 24 seconds off of last year’s 4×400 meter time and our boys took off 23 seconds from their 4×400 meter performance. At such short distances, this double-digit time improvement is truly remarkable. The girls won in their division with a time of 4:02,79 and the boys placed second with a time of 3:30,61. Our girls also won the 4×100 meter race with a time of 50,27. We now have not just one, but two Penn plaques to decorate our high school!
Our scholars prove that with a strong mindset and coaches willing to push them to their ultimate fitness level, we are on our way to becoming unstoppable. Congratulations to our athletes who competed, listed below:
Habiba Tawfiq (1:02,80), Isi Solomon (1:01,85), Tahira Jessop (1:01,63), Ronn’e Bailey (56,53)
Mohamed Traore (53,85), Brandon Williams (52,21), Angel Ravelo (54,22), Amari Pinkett (50,35)
Tahira Jessop, Ronn’e Bailey ,Tyra King, Talese Evans
Taequon Overton , Amari Pinkett, Brandon Williams, Mohamed Traore