Mayatan earns 16 medals at ABSH National Track and Field Meet
Last fall Mayatan sent nine students to the annual Association of Bilingual Schools of Honduras (ABSH) Track and Field Meet in Tegucigalpa, marking the first time Mayatan had participated in such an event. The team won two medals at the meet, despite being greatly outnumbered by the larger schools in attendance.
While the majority of last year's athletes graduated last spring, stories of their success helped spur interest in track and field on campus: this year, 26 students practiced and competed on the team, under the guidance of five volunteer coaches. For two months, these Secondary and High School athletes trained hard after school, sprinting up hills on hot afternoons, jogging along muddy roads in heavy rains, and completing hundreds of pushups and crunches in between. The students, who ranged from 12 to 18 years old, showed a solidarity that transcended their differences in age. Teammates cheered each other on at practice, hung out during and after school, and even threw birthday parties for one another.
Teachers, parents, and classmates soon recognized the effort that these students were making and came together to support the team. Parents held a smoothie sale and Mayatan administrators arranged a raffle to raise funds for the team. Teachers and students coordinated a surprise pep rally to give the athletes an enthusiastic send-off to the meet, located 4 hours away in the city of San Pedro Sula.
The team's arrival at the Estadio Olimpico on the day of the meet brought its own share of surprises. As with last year, it was the first time that most students had ran on a track oval -- indeed, given Copán's hilly landscape, it was the first time the team had run together on completely flat ground! The heat and humidity of the coastal city, much more intense than in Copán, threatened to sap the competitor's energy before mid-day.
But the athlete's months of training helped them to overcome the heat, and by the end of the day the Mayatan track team had won 16 medals, including first place finishes in the boys' 1500m and 800m (Alex Peraza, 11th grade), girls' 400m (Skarleth Guerra, 11th grade), and girls' discus (Cesia Casasola, 11th grade). The students' agreed, however, that the most gratifying reward didn't come from any of the individual races, but from the 4x400 relay, where the boys' varsity, boy's youth, and girl's JV all earned medals. "For us, the most important victory was the relay", says 11th grader Isaac Calderon, "it was the one race where we could compete as a team."
Head coach Andrew Gordon was proud of the team's dedication: "This season we had 26 students who committed themselves fully to something bigger than any one individual, five coaches who graciously gave their time and effort, and an unmatched showing of support from all corners of Mayatan. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this program in the making."
If last year's team poured the foundation, the efforts of this year's student-athletes cemented the program's importance at Mayatan. When the students returned to campus after the meet they were met with yet another surprise: a welcome-home celebration from their classmates and teachers. Younger students have already begun asking if they'll be able to join the team next year, and returning athletes have ambitions to perform even better in 2014. We here at Mayatan are all very impressed by and proud of Mayatan's 2013 Track and Field team. Congratulations, athletes!