Indoor track team looks to get back in stride

The UHSSE indoor track team during their practice.

Track season has started! University High School’s track team was formed after Thanksgiving break. But will this year’s team live up to the standard?

Head coach Joe Miller said that Covid made a huge difference to the program. The year before covid more than 50 students came out for the team, and about 20 athletes went to states. Then during covid, the team lost the entire season and had no competitions.

Last year, he said, things got “halfway back to normal,” with some difficult stipulations. Masks were required at the meets, there were fewer people that showed up, and it overall just wasn’t the same atmosphere.

Coach Miller said that it was hard to get any momentum. And it was hard to get into their usual rhythm because they never knew when people would be absent or if meets would be canceled. And only one player made states. Josiah Walker ‘24 making the fifty-five meters.

“I feel like this year will have a rough start because there are so many players with no experience but throughout the season with more practice and training we will have some nice prospects for state,” said Juan Cruz ‘23. “Since I started late I am kind of new to everybody but it looks like the team has good chemistry,”

This year, the team hopes to be back to full capability. There are about 20 people on this team. Most athletes on the team are sophomores and freshmen, and most have never been to a meet before.

“That means there may be some growing pains, but it also means there are lots of opportunities for people who are willing to commit and put in the work,” said Coach Miller. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do, and as a coach, it’s great to have a team that is hungry and shows up willing to learn. I’m excited to see how they improve over the season.”

There aren’t any appointed captains yet but there are two assistant coaches, Amy Baldyga and Melvin Mitchell.

The team had its first meet on Dec. 17. It was a developmental meet. Anyone could come if they were eligible.

“This was a good chance for everybody to get their feet wet and experience a meet in a low-pressure environment,” said Coach Miller.

Justin Chidozie ’23 (shot put), Dario Soto ’24 (shot put), Trevor Thomas ’25 (55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles), and Chelsea Thompson ’26 (55-meter hurdles) qualified for the conference championship meet.

The team will also compete in meets at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Southern Connecticut State, and the conference championship meet.

“We expect to put up competitive times, but we also expect that everyone on the team will get faster and stronger and will feel healthier physically and mentally,” said Coach Miller.