By Jonathan Cohen
For the past couple of years, North has dominated all running seasons, winning a combined 11 league titles since 2010 between the boys and girls teams. However, indoor track is one season in which North is particularly strong.
Last winter, the boys team finished in fourth and completed their 19th consecutive season without a loss, while the girls indoor track team finished the season in fifth place in the state meet, while the, and have won their league in 23 of the past 26 years .
Junior Andrew Mah, a captain of the boys indoor track team with seniors Dobbin Bookman, Isaiah Bowdoin, Jordan Greene, Nathaniel Klein, and Ryan Steele, said, on the expectations that come with success, “I think that definitely puts a lot of pressure on the team … I think it just motivates people to work harder.”
“As kids come and go, the only thing that stays the same is the coaches. Coaches Blackburn, Wallace, and Bower have been around forever, and they know a lot and really push us to be our best,” said Mah.
Head coach Jim Blackburn added, “I think a big plus is the idea that we have a streak going… It motivates people to continue it, they don’t want to be the ones to lose. The seniors especially, they don’t want to be the ones that ended the streak, which is now in its twentieth year.”
Senior Amanda Whitham, a captain of the girls indoor track team with seniors Kayla Hreczuck and Sydney Hurwitz also cited the coaching as a big reason for the team’s triumphs. “Our success comes from our dedicated and committed coaches, who do their best to make sure we are growing as athletes and members of a community.”
Whitham also added that the coaches, “promote the importance of teamwork and a positive attitude, which is reinforced by all of our athletes. We all agree to team qualities like being supportive and having a growth mindset.”
From a coaching standpoint, Blackburn said that he doesn’t do anything special, “It’s just a matter of motivating people, that’s all it comes down to. I have been very lucky to have a lot of talent, and then the thing is for the coach is to has to get the most out of the talent by motivating them and getting them to care about winning and doing well, that’s what my job is.”
Both Mah and Whitham said that their respective coaches motivate the team with success. According to Mah, Blackburn always says, “how good do you want to be?” to motivate the runners. Whitham said that the coaches for the girls team use a similar tactic, as they use the reward of success through hard work to drive the team.
“There is no secret [to winning] or anything, it’s just working hard and caring about it and that’s all,” said Blackburn.