Contributed by Vivian McMahon
Individuality is a component of any sport. Your differences make you shine and stand out. For track, this is no different. But in some events, track athletes band together through a network of support and confidence to stand together as one group to compete, always pushing each other to do better.
On Jan. 12, at the Division 1 State Relay, athletes Erin O’Brien, Mary Corcoran, Maddie Nagler and Vivian McMahon raced the clock in their distance relay. Their time of 13:14 placed them fifth overall, but also broke a previous school record of 14:05 from 2007 for the girls distance medley relay at the high school.
Freshman McMahon, who ran the mile to finish the medley, explained that she was initially nervous, but pushed herself to the end after hearing her teammates encourage her in the infield.
Corcoran, a senior, said that before the race began, the four stood together in their warm up room to discuss their plans and reassure each other.
“We have a handshake that we do for a relay before we go. That’s really helpful and we always stand together before we have to spread out and get to our starting places,” Corcoran said. “We talk about our plan and how we’re going to do well to boost each other’s confidence.”
Corcoran explained that even when the athletes were not all next to each other while they were running their portions of the race, their words of encouragement still stuck while running. The focus was more centered on doing well for the whole group.
“We were saying ‘we’ll do it for each other’ because sometimes you get really tired if it’s your own event and you slow down. But I knew that every second mattered and I wanted to hand the baton to Erin in the best spot that I could,” Corcoran said.
For Corcoran, there was a common understanding that her individual run would affect the entire race. Her main goal was to do well to support her whole team.
According to O’Brien, a junior, the team is looking forward to the rest of the races and events they have ahead of them. The regular season is over, but the team has qualified to run in states.
“I’m happy that we all accomplished the goal together,” O’Brien said, “We have individuals and states are coming up too. The last meet of the regular season was yesterday, but our four by four relay qualified for other meets so we’re going to keep going and see how far we can go.”