Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

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Right on track: Coach Anderson’s four pillars uplift this year’s track team

The sun is high in the sky. Sweat beads on your forehead. You have reached the final event of the meet–the four-by-four relay race. Your muscles brace for action as your teammate sprints furiously toward you. The pressure is on. Your legs ache, and your heart pounds as nerves start to steal your confidence–but the baton is in hand before you know it. You start to run on pure instinct and adrenaline. Suddenly, a tremendous roar erupts from the sidelines, and people scream your name. Your body feels lighter. You fly down the track on the wings of your teammates’ cheers.

Liberty’s track team has been reinvigorated this season with changes that elevate the camaraderie and performance levels. With new coaches, practice routines, and policies, returning athletes have noticed a more challenging warmup routine, added sprint workouts, and extended time requirements for meets.

“With the new workouts we’re doing, I feel like it’s helping the team a lot more compared to last year. We’re improving significantly this year,” senior shotput and discus thrower Jessie Estrella said.

Of these various changes, the implementation of the pillars that define the values of track has been the most impactful. 

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“One of the things I started was the pillars, which are the pillars of our program that everyone would know. They’re lessons that you can learn when you’re on track, but also life lessons,” head boys coach Bradley Anderson said. 

The first pillar is “direction not perfection.” This means that the goal is aimed towards progress instead of flawless performance.

“We can’t be perfect out here, but we’re always trying to get better and head on a positive trajectory,” Anderson said.

The second pillar is “how we do anything is how to do everything.” Track members are expected to have discipline and pay close attention to detail.

“It’s about the little things, right? It’s how we get to practice on time every day, it’s how we clean up our spaces after we leave a meet, it’s how we do our warm up every day, and how the little things take care of those bigger things if you do them well,” Anderson said.

The third pillar is “we over me,” which emphasizes the importance of focusing on the big picture and putting the good of the team before yourself.

“We’re going to fail sometimes, but we can still cheer on our teammates, even if we’re down,” Anderson said. “In a relay, the better person has to be in there and we’ve just got to be okay with that because it’s about the team. It’s not just about me here.” 

The fourth and last pillar is “setback, comeback.” Being resilient and having the ability to bounce back from defeat is a key part of improving in track.

“We are all going to face setbacks in life, so whenever there’s a setback, we’re going to come back even stronger,” Anderson said.

These pillars have helped the Liberty track team foster a community that uplifts athletes’ performances and mindsets.

“There’s a lot of encouragement and I feel like there’s definitely a sense of team spirit because we all high five each other. That’s why I look forward to track, because I feel like without it, it would have felt lonely,” sophomore long-distance runner Angelina Chen said. 

Other team members agree with this sentiment.

“My favorite part about being on the team is the environment. Everyone there is really, really nice. They are all very supportive and everyone expects you to do your best, but don’t expect you to go above what you can do,” sophomore long-distance runner Hayden Dahlem said. 

Feeling encouraged, the Liberty track team now prepares to tackle the second half of the season.

“We’re getting to the point of the season where we’re going to invites and getting ready for the postseason in May, and that’s when it’s pretty darn fun,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be hard, but it’s okay, because when you do hard things together, it helps you grow as a unit too.”

About the Contributor
Ellie Nishino
Ellie Nishino, Staff Writer
Ellie Nishino is a sophomore at Liberty High School and a staff writer for the Patriot Press. She has a great passion for filmmaking and walking her dog, Toby.