Indoor Track Team Fights Through Obstacles on their Journey to Success

The PHS indoor track team has existed for decades now. The girls have won 5 state championships, and the boys have yet to win one. The last time the team won a championship was 2008, and as time continues to pass, the team strives to bring the winning culture back to PHS track and field. 

The team has consistently had top times with their distance running. Although Nandini Satsangi, a former student who owns almost all of the female running records, graduated last year, the female distance team has still found many top times with juniors Lillian Hsu and Julia Lyons, sophomore Caroline Simmons, and freshman Anna Bodmer. The male runners have had success with senior Sam Bodmer, juniors Mac Gallagher and Chris Stallard, sophomore Daniel Ponciano, and freshman Kevin Hsu. 

With the sprinting team, their issues stem from a lack of personnel, according to junior sprinter Connor Ransom. The team only brings 2 or 3 sprinters per gender to meets to do all of the sprinting events. To compare, the distance team brings 5 or 6 runners per gender to a meet. 

The team is coached by science teacher Mr. Prasad Gerard, who is an experienced distance runner. Practices are held Mon-Fri after school on the track at PHS. Multiple runners, including freshman runner Bodmer, and junior Ransom, prefer running outside on the track to running inside the school. 

“I probably prefer running outside because even though running inside is nicer temperature wise, it’s harder to breathe inside.” Bodmer said. 

The team has nine meets during the 2019-20 season. Out of those meets, six of them are held at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, two of them are held at Hagerstown Community College, and one is held at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda. Ransom was very vocal about how he feels about the locations. 

“The facilities are not good. Hagerstown doesn’t let you wear spikes [track cleats], and it’s also really small.” Ransom said. “PG [Prince George’s Complex] has toxic air, and both places are an hour away. Georgetown Prep is pretty good, though.”

 Although many runners complain that these locations are far away, they are still the closest indoor facilities that are available to students at PHS. 

One common occurrence at the indoor track meets is the lack of student fans from Poolesville in attendance. Often, the bleachers are solely used by runners from the many schools that show up to race and their parents. Ransom is not surprised by this. 

“It would be nice to have some people supporting us, but I understand because PG is an hour away. So, I don’t really expect anybody to come, but it would be nice.” Ransom said.

The competitive season is just around the corner for the team, with counties on Jan 22, regionals on Feb 1, and states on Feb 17. So far, the runners with the fastest times and highest chances to advance to states include sophomore sprinter Rachel Daniels, and junior distance runner Chris Stallard.