Winter track stars Hawkins, Thomas eye more records at States

Curtis Weh ’21 in the long jump

Fords winter track prepares for the final lap of the season. Top track stars are setting the bar high as they move into a challenging February stretch and ultimately into State Championships on March 1.

     Sixth Former Daiyaan Hawkins, one of the team’s top sprinters, eyes the very top of the competition this year.

     “I clearly want to win [States],” Hawkins said. “I want to better my time from last year, and I want to make it to the top of the PA ranking list again.”

     Hawkins’s goals are ambitious, but his hard work and determination have put him in a position to reach them come March. Varsity Track Coach Luqman Kolade believes this year’s team has the potential to win multiple events at the tournament.

     “Daiyaan could win two events, depending on how healthy he is,” Coach Kolade said. “K.J. [Thomas] is a sophomore, and he’s got the potential to win the hurdles and the state, which would be great. We could win the 4×200 relay, depending on how healthy everyone is. I don’t think the school has ever had a state winner, so that would just be awesome.”

     For Hawkins, with fall comes football, and with winter comes track. This transition is not always easy.

     “Football is a lot of strength, and you’re not just moving straight like in track,” Hawkins said. “The main challenge is training your body to just run off of pure speed without having to stop at sudden moments. Another challenge is endurance: for the 200, it’s way more than running for like five seconds on the football field before getting tackled.”

     Nevertheless, Hawkins believes he has gradually gotten into shape this year and is ready to display his ability in upcoming events.

     “Top track mode normally comes in around this time—like about two months [from the beginning of the season]. In the first few meets, you’re getting your body ready for competition,” Hawkins said. “Then you adjust to the big competition meets. Then you’ve gotta just go with the flow and practice hard.”

     Within demanding practices, Hawkins and other Sixth Form leaders have promoted positivity to the team, allowing them to work hard in a setting of mutual support and camaraderie.

Caleb Reed ’20 – photo by Mr. Jim Roese

     Fourth Former Kevin Thomas said, “We have a good relationship with each other. [The leaders] have been doing a good job with bringing us all together and making sure nobody is left out.”

     Similar to Hawkins, Thomas has set his goals high for the State Championship. Coming off an impressive Third Form year, he is ready to take another step forward.

     “I’m looking forward to the State meet, because we have a good chance of winning the 4×200, and I could win the hurdles,” Thomas said.

 “We have a pretty solid group.”

Coach Luqman Kolade

     Winter track is a team on the rise. Although the overall number of team members has dipped this season, the team’s remaining athletes continue to develop. With young talent and good coaching, they seem to improve each season.

     “We have a pretty solid group,” Coach Kolade said. “We do have fewer guys than last, which has been sort of helpful in a lot of ways—because we can now spend a little more time focusing on the core group. But essentially, we have just returned a lot of good kids from last season. The core of our team—that did really well last year—is back.”

Vincent Scauzzo ’20 – photo by Mr. Jim Roese

Author: Mitav Nayak '22

Mitav Nayak has contributed to The Index since 2018. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief. Mitav won the fall 2019 Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) Philadelphia-area Student Journalism Competition for Newspaper Sports Story Writing and was to compete for the state title in the spring of 2020 (canceled due to COVID).