Newton South girls’ track sprints into spring undefeated

The Newton South girls’ track team has raced to a blistering start this spring, staying undefeated. This season’s team has the most females in more than 25 years, with over 80 athletes. With an abundance of young and experienced talent, the team is firing on all cylinders. This season marks the first time the team has more than five students in every throwing event, and both the 4×800 meter relay and sprint medley relay (SMR) competitors qualified for the Nationals. 

Sophomore Emily Frawley, who has qualified for the Nationals in the 800 meter, 400 meter, SMR, and 4×800 meter relay, says the group’s support and enthusiasm make the environment special.

“Everyone has a really positive attitude towards track and everyone is really uplifting with each other,” she said. “Sometimes if I’m having a rough race, just hearing people cheer helps motivate me, and I do the same thing – cheering for other people during their races.”

Despite the large number of  athletes, sophomore Paige Taylor said the group feels tight-knit and bonded.

“Everyone loves each other, and even though there are so many kids, you get to really know all these different kids from around the school,” she said. “There are freshmen I’ll see and they say ‘hi’ to me, and I’m getting to know all these different kids who I never would have known before.”

Frawley credits the captains and upperclassmen with cultivating a positive and inclusive culture while accepting more responsibilities.

“We have a great group of captains this year, like the seniors are such a huge part of our team. They’re the ones that are always cheering, they’re always helping out and [Coach] Steve [McChesney] actually broke his foot, so they’ve taken on a huge role,” she said. “They hold the team together and they foster the environment, like their energy makes the environment what it is.”

Senior captain Ellie Jolly, who will run track at Amherst College next year, said her experience on the team has had a profound impact on her.

“It was the people that I met on this team and the support I got from the coaches that really encouraged me to go after this goal that I hadn’t even thought was possible four years ago and I don’t think that anything has meant more to me than that,” she said.

The individual goals, in addition to the team’s success, are a unique aspect of track that Jolly says contributes to the support system the group provides.

“I think part of it is the fact that you don’t feel like you’re competing with one another. Like in most other team sports, you’re competing for spots – there are only so many people that can play in the game,” she said. “Whereas with track, your biggest competitor is yourself. And I think that kind of opens the floor up for you to connect with people because talking to them is going to make you better.”

The joy and positivity of the group are apparent in the bonds they’ve created, which have translated to success on the track, and Jolly treasures the community. 

“Being a part of this team that for the past three years has consistently been such a positive space and full of people that just want to support each other, like that’s such a good feeling,” she  said.