Two eighth-graders who have joined the varsity track team bear the weight of significant pressure, from the lengthy meets to the expectation of greatness. However this pressure hasn’t prevented them from succeeding. Eighth-graders Tyler Brown and Leo Ladewig have set some of the best times and records despite their age.
Brown has been participating in the sport since first grade. Since track is his primary sport, Brown trains all year round to prepare. “I have a trainer because it gets cold in Connecticut and I can’t go outside, so I do training inside in a smaller space,” he said. Not only does Brown train for track, but he also plays other sports. “[I do] basketball because it helps build endurance and build up stamina, and football because I have a lot of people chasing me with the ball so it motivates me to run faster,” he said.
Brown competes in the long jump but his primary position is as a sprinter. “I like being a sprinter and a jumper because it involves your actual speed rather than needing a lot of endurance to be good at it,” he said. Brown also has family ties to these events since his dad was a sprinter in college. Brown has set personal records that surpass his older teammates. “[My personal records are] 11.22 seconds in the 100 meter and 19’5 in the long jump,” he said.
Not only does Brown shine as a young star, Ladewig has also proven his worth to the team. Ladewig is quite new to sport compared to Brown. “I started running track last year because it was an option for my school,” he said. Outside of track season Ladewig plays soccer and does indoor fitness training. He makes sure to build up his endurance and slow down his breaths per minute since he is a long and mid-distance runner. Ladewig likes to run the long and middle distances because he is able to keep a solid cadence for a long time rather than give 120 percent in the span of 11 seconds like Brown. Running is the only event Ladewig does since he runs races for long periods of time and needs to recover for the next event.
The two students may not realize the extent of their influence on the team. Junior teammate Kata Mesterhazy, an exchange student from Hungary, has enjoyed their presence on the team. “I really admire their speed and their endurance,” she said. “I certainly could never run as fast as Tyler or as long as Leo.” Mesterhazy also noted the boys’ unique personalities. “Tyler is so funny,” she chuckled, “he is always cracking jokes and he always makes you laugh when talking to him. Leo is really shy and he is really nice and sweet when you talk to him,” It’s safe to say the boys impress everyone both with their athletics and attitude towards their teammates and the sport.
Brown and Ladewig overall had a good season with Brown placing third in the 200-meter race at Founders and Ladewig doing well in the 500-meter race. Both boys have a bright future in track and will surely excel in the coming seasons.