Track Team Takes on New Balance Nationals

Sergio Abboud and Kayvan Dyk

Poly’s Girls’ and Boys’ Track teams had a prolific indoor season campaign, first winning the Ivy League, and continuing to produce many outstanding performances at the 2023 New Balance Nationals from Thursday, March 9, to Sunday, March 12. The boys’ team competed in the 4×200, 4×400, and 4×800 meter relays. Senior Terrel Hood-Simeon was the first leg in the 4×200 relay. “We went into the race thinking that regardless of the time, we just needed to run to our best capabilities and trust that others would do the job too,” said Simeon.

At Nationals, the 4×200 team, consisting of Simeon, senior Theo Drye, sophomore Kofi Rossi, and sophomore Jordan James, placed second in Poly history for the 4×200 relay.

The girls’ team competed in the 1600 sprint medley relay in the Rising Stars division. A sprint medley relay consists of two 200-meter legs, a 400-meter leg, and an 800-meter leg. Sophomore Briyana Hart and senior Victoria Gontowicz ran the first two 200 legs, followed by Ava Rosario who ran the 40 leg, and Izzy Leyton who finished it out anchoring the 800. They finished with a time of 4:25.95 seconds, which puts them first all-time at Poly for this event. 

This season was Hart’s first time running at nationals, which is an impressive feat for a sophomore. 

 “Nationals was an experience like no other. I was nervous but excited to be competing at such a high level,” said Senior Zeraun Daniel, who finished third in the high jump. Daniel jumped an astonishing 6’7”, a personal record for him, and a record for Poly. Daniel said that he was “elated” after jumping 6’7 “but he knew he had to “dig deeper” in order to come out with a first-place finish. As an attempt to push his limits, Zeraun decided to attempt 6’9”, which he barely missed.

 “There is still a lot of work to be done,” said Daniel.

Looking forward to the outdoor season, Daniel hopes to reach 7’. 

Briyana Hart acknowledged this amazing performance by the team by saying “The team has improved tremendously from last year to this year.”

She credits her coaches, Coach Bridgette Ingram and Coach Richard James, for her drastic improvement. Hart describes them as her “second parents” and that in addition to helping her run faster, she feels as though she can “come to them about anything.” 

In the throwing events, junior Chantal Guthrie, and senior Shaza Mousa placed 6th and 12th respectively, in the Girls’ Weight Throw Rising Stars event. Senior Justin Mondesir placed 24th in the Boys’ Weight Throw Championship.

The New Balance Nationals is not like any ordinary meet. This is where the best of the best come to compete. Although the nerves were high going into Nationals, once Hart arrived, she said that “seeing girls a year older than [her] run the 200 meters in 22 seconds was mind-blowing” but also “motivated [her] to work harder.” 

The Track team’s performance in the indoor season and the national championships were amazing, but the team is not done yet. The Team is three meets into their outdoor season, and we’ve already seen some outstanding performances. At the Poly Relays on Saturday, April 15th, senior Terrel-Hood-Simeon ran an appalling 11.39-second 100-meter dash and placed first in the meet. Hurdler Jack Bogner 25’ crushed his previous personal record of 19.76 seconds and ran 17.18 seconds in the 110 meter Hurdles, winning a silver medal in the meet. Victoria Gontowicz 23’, Chantal Guthrie 24’, and Briyana Hart 25’, were placed in New York State’s Top 10 in the Girls’ 100m Dash, after running outstanding times all under 14 seconds. Senior Julia Belle Reyfman threw a sensational 128-9 in the Girls Javelin Throw, which ranks her at #1 in New York State. More exciting news, both the boys’ and girls’ 800m Sprint Medley Relays are also ranked at #1 in New York State. After having a terrific start to the season it looks like this will be a great year for Poly track. On behalf of the Polygon, we wish the team good luck and encourage students to stop by the track after school on Tuesdays and cheer on your fellow classmates at their meets.

 Daniel described the indoor season as “a preseason to the outdoor season, “where the real stuff begins.” He is certainly not the only one excited about the outdoor season. The Poly Girls’ and Boys’ track teams have their first meet on Tuesday, April 11th at 4:30. This meet will be held at the Poly track, so on behalf of the Polygon, we wish the track team good luck, and encourage students to stop by after school and cheer on your fellow classmates.