By Fiona M.
Indoor Track this year was anything but conventional; from the practices on a soccer field to the hours spent at meets, the SEM team had a season that was different from every other. We ran not in our usual bright red singlets, but in dark green, as Nardin Gators.
The combined team may have come as a shock to many as SEM and Nardin appear to be polar opposites. Green versus red, a Catholic school versus a secular school, but the team, lovingly nicknamed the GatorHawks, came together as if from the same school. And this team was a force to be reckoned with on the track.
Sports teams allow for students of different grades to get to know each other. This year, the Indoor Track team allowed for not only different grades but also different schools to become, in the words of one of the athletes, “one big happy family.” SEM wasn’t going to have an Indoor Track season this year unless it combined with another school, and we were lucky enough to be able to join Nardin’s Indoor Track team. Most of the team didn’t know each other— we were almost all complete strangers at the beginning— but by the end, we all were hoping for another combined season.
As a Nardin team member put it, “I really didn’t know what to expect when I heard we would be running with SEM. We have a new coach this year, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I actually really liked running together.”
The coaches and athletes had a relationship like no other. Coach Streety’s chair at each meet was iconic; when you wanted to find him, you need only scan the floor for a folding chair and there he was. Coach Hoffman’s willingness to talk to you during a hard workout, and the encouragement the coaches provided for us all when we worked our hardest, was truly motivational.
The team shattered almost every school record, from the 3000m run to the 55m hurdles, 11 in total, by the end of the season. The strength of the team was unmatched, and it’s likely why we aren’t racing together in the spring. Through the long workouts and even longer meets, the team got closer, bonding over the love/hate relationship we all have with the sport. Inside jokes, impromptu saxophone concerts, and late starts to relays worked to create a team environment that brought everyone back every day.
The season has ended, but the friendships we made will persist. When we see the Nardin team at meets, we won’t be running for the same team, but still, we’ll cheer them on like we are.