By Mackenzie Boucher
Special to southeastconferencema.org
The thought of running after an exhaustive day at school can sound like an added daily strain, but for those committed to the Dartmouth High School track team, like senior Madison Stott, track forces them to push through and achieve a new level of strength and appreciation for progress. Madison has broken records for relay, relay split, and the 300 meter race, and her success story is one of inspiration, triumph, and opportunity.
Madison joined the Dartmouth track team in the winter of her freshman year, followed up with spring track, and since then has done every season of track for the rest of her high school career. Now she is happy taking on the responsibility of being a captain for the winter and spring teams. “At first I didn’t think much of it, usually soccer was my main sport. By junior year, I figured out that I would want to do track in college because of how much I’ve grown.” Madison compares it to her experience playing soccer, “in track it is much easier to see your growth since you get a new time every meet and can use those stats to compare with your other times to see your growth straight on, versus soccer where you don’t have the stats to show you are growing as easily and readily available. You only go by how you feel you did.” The undisputed nature of progress on the track team encourages athletes like Madison to continue striving for faster times.
Corroborating what Serena Carnes said in a previous interview about the Dartmouth High School track team, Madison has also found a second home on the track.“We are all one big family, I really enjoy running track because of the huge support of my team and the positive energy they give me,” Madison says, “the people who are there for you say it’s okay, you can do it. We believe in you. We have faith and that builds a bond.” The consistent positive reinforcement to perform despite fear of failure, created a nurturing environment for teammates of different skill levels and strengths, and for Madison she believes, “if my teammates weren’t cheering for me and my coaches weren’t pushing me I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Admittedly, she finds a lot of people who think the track team is synonymous with endless running and suffering, connotated with the image of a hamster endlessly running on a wheel. Consequently, they have trouble understanding why anyone would subject themselves to such a lifestyle. However, for Madison track is a means of multifaceted progress; social, emotional, and physical. “When you’re in your own separate event groups, you form better friendships and bonds with people you wouldn’t expect.” Those friends, she finds, grow bonds of a mutual understanding; that everyone wants to help anyone who needs it. Teammates tend to take affirmative action,“ especially if they can see that someone is having a hard time, the workout is hard for them, you can see it on their face or body that they’re getting drained, you can continue it with them, or give them motivation to help them through it.” It’s just the way of the Dartmouth track team.
As someone who strives to beat past times, every meet is like a mini-Mount Olympus built by herself, that she has to climb. She remembers one such instance,“it was my junior year at the states meet during winter track, it was the last meet of our season, my relay team was working really hard towards the goal of beating the school record that season.”
She remembers after the relay, the team was filled with one sentiment, “I think we did it. Anticipation, waiting to see the time. Once it happens you’re filled with joy. You’re jumping up and down. Your heart is still racing,” Madison was shocked, “I couldn’t believe it, I just stared at the time, it didn’t feel real, I couldn’t believe I just did that.” She swelled with pride for herself and her team, and the accomplishment has become a pillar of her track experience, motivating her to keep going, to achieve the bliss of seeing a record on the clock.
Records are not the only motivator by any means, the personal nature of rivalries between players is a significant factor in meets. “Anytime we run against Durfee there is this one runner that I know will push me. We are always neck and neck, if she is in a race, it will be an important race to me specifically. It’s a good motivation.” Madison appreciates how the competitive nature positively affects her.
Madison plans to continue track in college, and is weighing her options currently. She knows, “it will be a whole new aspect of running. I’ll be running against all these other runners I’ve never ran against before. I’m excited for it. I know in college other people will feel the same passion I have for track, and will take it as seriously as I do.” She does not shy away from a new challenge because of the strength the Dartmouth track team originally provided her, “they’re gonna be big, strong, and fast, which is intimidating, but I know they’ll be as welcoming as this team was when I was a freshman.”
Madison passionately believes the positive effect that track has provided her is unparalleled. “Track is individualized, so you get more attention and support because it’s just you,” she says. “It keeps you in shape physically and mentally. I would suggest doing track to anyone.”