The Record Book: Track and Field Edition

Lindsey Smith, Arts & Entertainment Editor

   The 2023 Pembroke Pines Charter High School track and field team has shattered old records and set new standards to surpass in sprinting, distance, and throwing events. Among the record-breaking times and distances are the athletes that set them. It’s the humility, hard work, and sheer determination of each that brought them to this point: adding new names and times to the record books. 

   “I remember telling my coach, ‘I’m going to get 40 meters.’ And then, I just went out there and did it…,” recounts junior Nicolas Pacini. As an athlete on the PPCHS track and field team, Nicolas understands the bulk of what goes into being part of the team. But, as a thrower on a team that is more well known for its running, there are different struggles that go into training. Although the javelin is new to the PPCHS track and field team, Nicolas, among other throwing specialists, have taken to the new sport and adapted relatively quickly, even setting new school records.

   Senior Gabriella Kinsey has been on the team since her freshman year. Concentrating her skills into distance events, if the track season is any reflection on her cross country season, she is still on her way to obliterating old school records. Recently, she put a new event into the books; the 1500 meter race. “When I found out I was running the 1500, I literally said ‘how do I even pace myself for this’” Gabbie explained. “It was my first time running it, it didn’t even cross my mind that I could set the school record. I went to that meet very calm and nonchalant because I didn’t think it was a big deal since it typically isn’t my event.” Yet, at a mere 5:11.01, she placed 2nd, but for Gabbie, as she goes by, it’s more than just a 2nd place win, it’s an achievement that she is beyond proud of and one that reflects the work that went into it. “…I was in shock! The following day my coach announced that I set the school record…My heart dropped! I started, of course, sending the news to everyone I know because I felt such a sense of accomplishment. What a way to end my high school track career…With a bang!”

   Similar to Gabbie, sophomore Alejandro de Bastos also puts big emphasis on distance events. As a junior olympic qualifier in multiple different track and field events, and a Broward County First Team selected runner for his cross country season, his times in the 3200, 1600, 1500, even in the 800 meter races, are no surprise. Nevertheless, even for an accomplished runner like Alejandro, setting a school record is a new sort of achievement. At 4:07.29, his time was added to the books. His reaction, though, fits his remarkably “chill” personality like a glove: “well since I just found out, I think it’s pretty cool I set a school record. Hopefully I can break the 1600 one too.” His time on the 1600 is only three spots away from taking the lead. As only a sophomore, there’s no telling what his next two years will entail.

   While the throwing events are considered to be some of the most under-appreciated events in high school track and field, their impact on the team is beyond ordinary. A tight unit, they have persevered together, facing new challenges like taking to the javelin, a new event on the PPCHS team. Nicolas Pacini and Zhara Durand put the hours of practice to good use, setting the tone for the new event. As Zahara continues to set new personal records in the javelin, she wants her achievement to serve as an inspiration to others. “When I found out that I set the record for the girls javelin, it honestly makes me so proud and happy to set a goal in a very underrated event. I hope this encourages other girls to come out and try it next year, and I plan to keep setting the record higher and higher with a new PR at every meet. I’m so honored to set the record for not only the girls track team but also our school. GO JAGS !!!” Nicolas is in agreement with Zahara when it comes to improvement, stating, “I was surprised about finding out I broke the school record, but I still want to do it again until I get a record that won’t be broken for a while.”

   In the event that is considered to be one of the most difficult and challenging events in track and field, there is a new set of hurdlers pushing the boundaries and setting new records. The 400 meter hurdles is challenging on anyone’s standards, but for sophomore Marcus Wallace, it’s challenge is just a barrier to jump over. “My initial feeling was being proud of myself. Going into the meet, I knew what the current school record was and thought I had a chance to beat it. My focus at the meet was to win my heat. After I realized that I had also beat the school record, I was very happy and excited. It’s cool that my name will be recorded as a record breaker, and I will try to set a new one.” 

   In a list of many old records set years prior, the 2023 track and field team has broken many different barriers and illustrates the work that has gone into getting the result of the record holder title. As the end of the season nears and districts and regionals are right around the corner, there may very well be some new names hitting the top of the list.