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Track Spotlight: School Record Breakers

By Bright Xiao

The 2023-2024 indoor track and field regular season has come to an end and student athletes Alec Dampman, Varun Pillai, Brandon Lynn and Sharon Xiao have had impressive seasons as they set new school records. 

Senior Alec Dampman ran a time of 1:27.75 for the 600m at the Armory and a time of 2:39.37 for the 1000m at the Ocean Breeze Freedom Games.

Source from Bright Xiao

Alec Dampman leads the pack of runners during the 600m event at the Armory Official Hall of Fame Invitational.

“Breaking our school 600m and 1000m records felt unreal,” Dampman said. “It felt like a dream, not going to lie. It was so fun because once I broke it our teammates ran to me and celebrated. It didn't feel that I broke it; I felt as if the team broke the record, as they are the people who are there to support me when I need them most.”

"...shows that all the hard work that a lot of these people were putting in are paying off..."

Varun Pillai threw 48' 5.75" at Nassau County Section 8 Class B Championship, beating out the old record of 35’ 2” set last season by current senior Jonathan Rennhack. Pillai and Rennhack placed 2nd and 3rd in the weight throw event at Counties this year, respectively.

Source from Bright Xiao

Pillai states that treating every throw like a throw at practice helps him maintain a focused mindset at meets.

“Breaking the school record was a big relief for me because following the winter break, I had felt very off when throwing,” Pillai said. “Being able to return to form at such an exciting venue such as the Armory was a big weight off of my shoulders and a good indication of what the end of the season has in store.”

Senior Brandon Lynn and sophomore Sharon Xiao set their records at conference championships with Brandon Lynn running the 55m in a time of 6.91, making the finals, while Sharon Xiao jumped a distance of 15' 1.75". 

Source from Bright Xiao

Senior Brandon Lynn breaks the 55m school record at conference championships with a time of 6.91.

“Breaking a school record was a very exciting but humbling experience,” Lynn said. “I was always the slowest runner when it came to baseball, but that all changed when I joined the track team and started working at it for 2 years.”

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to have broken the school record for long jump,” Xiao said. “It's an achievement that shows the dedication and encouragement of my coaches and teammates.”

"It felt like a dream... It was so fun because once I broke it our teammates ran to me and celebrated..."

Achieving these milestones came with hard work and dedication. These student athletes experienced motivation to help improve their mentality throughout the season. 

“My mentality when competing is that I tell myself that I belong in the race and that I am just as good as all of the other athletes competing,” Dampman said. “This helps me feel more confident in my ability when running a race. I prepare for an event by focusing on taking deep breaths and making sure I'm all stretched, as well as talking to my teammates so that they make me feel less anxious about running the race.” 

“A big motivator for me throughout the season was seeing myself progress,” Pillai said. “During my first season last year, I didn't progress much and didn't try new techniques. This year however, seeing my distances reach new heights I never thought I'd reach was very motivating. On meet days, I usually start things off by sleeping through the bus ride to the meet. Although it started by accident, it turned into a habit that helps clear my mind. At the meet, I usually try to stick to a mindset of  'just treat it like a practice throw.' When I keep that mindset successfully, that's usually when I see good distances.” 

“For every sport I've played, I've always had the same competitive mentality,” Lynn said. “Every track meet my goal is to put up better numbers than the previous meet. I prepare by showing up to practice, training, and improving daily.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Sophomore Sharon Xiao is recognized during the winter pep rally for her record-breaking 15' 1.75" jump at conference championships.

“A big motivator for me this season was the hunt for counties because when I saw that my marks were within the range it made me very excited, making me want to work even harder to get into this county spot,” Xiao said. “Although I didn't make counties for the event that I wanted to, this is just another motivator for me to work even harder during the spring season and all the seasons I have afterwards. Before meets I don't really have a set plan. My goal is to just make sure I feel fresh and loose. ”

These historic performances by the student-athletes brought pride and emotion, as many were astonished. These achievements demonstrated great work ethic.

“Absolutely incredible achievement! Breaking a school record is no small feat, and it reflects not only their athletic abilities but also their resilience and determination,” athletic director Coach Maguire said. “The hours of training, sacrifices made, and the discipline they've shown have led to their success.”

“Feels good, shows that all the hard work that a lot of these people were putting in are paying off. It comes down to the athlete and their will to get the school record,” Coach Buith said.


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