Indoor track continues bounce back season

Victor Wilkins ’26 competes in the 55-meter hurdles.

As the University High School indoor track team progresses in their season, success becomes more and more evident! Cassidy Ward ‘23 and Justin Chidozie ‘23 have qualified for states in shot put. Not to mention, the many others getting very close to their goals.

The track team’s first event was a developmental meet at Hartford High. They later competed in two meets in Southern Connecticut State, where they were able to face strong competition from all over Connecticut. “It was a good measuring stick and opportunity for our athletes to show what they were capable of,” said head coach Joe Miller. Since then, they have also attended two invitational meets in Hartford.

Coach Miller, who has been head coach since 2019, is very proud of the team’s performance. “They’re a young team, but they are exactly where they should be. We have gone to some high-quality meets, and they have more than held their own on the track.”

Chidozie and Ward both finished in the top five for shot put at one of the SCSU meets.

Chelsea Thompson ‘26, who competes in the girls’ 55-meter dash, 55-meter hurdles, and 4×200-meter relay, has performed exceptionally so far in the season. She has qualified for conference in the girls’ 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles events.

Her time as a track athlete has taught her many things, but most remarkably, has instilled confidence in herself. When asked about the lessons track has taught her, she said, “Don’t undermine yourself. I feel like track and playing sports, in general, has given me the ability to know, “I am good at it” and owning the things I’m good at.”

Josh McIver ‘25, who’s been on the track team for what will soon be two seasons, has made significant improvements since the beginning of his track career. “I’ve knocked more than a minute off my mile time and am now ten seconds off qualifying for conference for the 1000.” McIver hopes to qualify for conference in the 1000 and has a strong belief in his ability to do so.

“The first track meet that I ever went to was the first one I coached”, said Coach Miller. He was very involved in sports throughout high school but never participated in track. In 2017, Mr. Miller started off working as an assistant coach with throwers specifically. After the previous head coach retired from the position, Mr. Miller stepped into that role.

As a history teacher and a track coach, he said there are many ways the principles of the two overlap.

“Teaching and coaching definitely draw on some of the same skills. There’s a parallel between planning lessons in the classroom and planning practices,” said Coach Miller. “You want to know that you are connecting with your kids. And you want to see results, whether that’s demonstrating mastery on a test or putting up better times on the track.”

Coach Miller said that assistant coaches Amy Baldyga and Melvin Mitchell have played huge roles in the training of the athletes on the UHSSE track team. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing without all three of us,” he said. “It’s a team effort.”

The UHSSE track team will compete in their conference championship meet on Feb. 1. Eight members of the team have qualified in individual events: Justin Chidozie ’23 (shot put), Cassidy Ward ’23 (shot put), Dario Soto ’24 (shot put and 300 meters), Elysa Richards ’25 (long jump), Trevor Thomas ’25 (55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles), Joshua Tomczyk ’25 (55-meter dash), Chelsea Thompson ’26 (55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles), and Victor Wilkins ’26 (55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles).

There will also be a girls’ 4×200-meter relay team of Nariyah Lindsay ’25, Adra-nae Esson ’26, Richards, and Thompson, as well as a boys’ 4×200-meter relay team of Soto, Tomczyk, Thomas, and Wilkins.

“I expect to see a strong showing at the conference meet!” says Coach Miller.