Track Team Returns to New York Meet Post-COVID
Ellis Olander (‘26) competes in the meet this month / Credits: Miles Felix
After a two-year hiatus, the School Without Walls track team returned to New York City to compete in the U.S. Army Officials Hall of Fame Invitational this month.
The team took a bus to New York early Jan. 19 and departed late Jan. 21. While in New York, Walls athletes explored Manhattan’s neighborhoods, and attended the Broadway hit Hamilton in addition to competing alongside hundreds of schools at the meet in Upper Manhattan.
Coach Nick Scott expressed pride in each athlete’s performance at the meet. “I think everybody stepped up and did their best,” he said. “They competed at a high level. Everybody met or exceeded expectations.”
Kylie Emmanual (‘25) broke the school record for the sophomore girls’ 1000-meter run. Walls placed second in the novice girls 4x400-meter relay. Captain Ryanne Barstow (‘23) and Tillie Freed (‘24) earned fourth and sixth, respectively, in the novice girls’ 1000-meter run. Captain Malcolm Douglas (‘23) and Jack Meltzer (‘24) came in fifth and eighth places in the novice boys’ 1000-meter run.
Nadia Lytle (‘25) placed second in the varsity girls’ shot put, out-throwing hundreds of competitors and qualifying for Nike Indoor Nationals. “Track is 100 percent now gonna be a part of my future with college because I qualified, which is a big accomplishment,” Lytle explained. She aims to break the D.C. shot put record this season.
Coach Scott said the trip to the Empire State was a unique opportunity. “You really can’t get the same experience [in D.C.] as you would going up to New York or Connecticut, where the track programs are more experienced and have more kids,” he said.
Miles Felix (‘24) said the trip brought him closer to his teammates in what is largely an individual sport. “I’ve never really felt this close to a team that I’ve been on,” he said. “I just think actively spending so much time with one another brought our relationships closer.”
During the meet, Felix ran the school’s sports Instagram account, @swwpenguins. He thought the takeover was a positive team bonding experience, saying, “I think our team was pretty close going into this meet, but just small things like that was a nice thing for the team to bond over and also have a good laugh.”
Heather Lytle, the team manager, agreed. “I’m always proud of our kids,” she said. “Coach Scott and I put a lot of time into the team and so it’s really exciting to see how much [the athletes] get out of it. It’s like they’re my kids, so I like watching them all do well.”
Coach Scott said the New York trip will help them going into future meets, explaining, “I think [the New York meet] changes some of the athletes’ outlooks. I think it gave them some confidence.”