Track’s Sims and Sanford adapt to new coaching staff

Josh Allen ’22works on his long jump in practice, March 11, 2021 – Jeffrey Yang ’22

After a one year hiatus as a result of the pandemic, the track and field team is armed with a new coach and several seniors ready to lead the team to success. 

     Most recently, new Track and Field Coach Mr. Ron Hunter led the 4 x 800 indoor relay team to the state championship. Hunter’s athletes broke fifteen of the school’s individual and relay records at Academy Park, his alma mater.

     Taking notice of Coach Hunter’s success, Athletic Director Mr. Michael Murphy worked to make Coach Hunter the Fords’ Track and Field Coach for the 2021 season.

     “Coach Hunter has a unique ability to push his athletes to be their best selves both on and off the track. This, combined with his competitiveness, make him an outstanding addition to The Haverford School’s athletic programs,” Mr. Murphy said. 

Track sprinters Guillaume Laforest ’21, Mekhi Ajose-Williamson ’21, Coach Ron Hunter, and Manny Winikur ’21 in practice, March 11, 2021 – Jeffrey Yang _22 1

     As the first few weeks of practice have gotten underway, track athletes have felt the impact of Coach Hunter’s presence. 

     “[Coach Hunter] instantly connected with the guys, and all of our athletes have the utmost respect for him and his training plan,” Sixth Former Distance Runner A.J. Sanford said. “He gives great advice and has a vision for our running goals.”

     “There’s a new energy to the track team,” Sixth Form Runner Chris Sims said. “I feel as if people are a little more serious. Although it is still fun, there is a lot of focus on the team.”

     While Coach Hunter’s leadership has been evident throughout the first couple weeks of practice, he has also implemented changes in practice to try and improve his athletes. One of the first changes he made was introducing longer warmups to the athletes.

A student works on his pole vault in practice, March 11, 2021 – Jeffrey Yang ’22

     “Some athletes appreciate the longer warm ups in the cold because it highly reduces the risk of injury,” Sanford said. “While the warm up is longer than some people are used to, they can appreciate that they will at least be warm and ready to sprint.”

     “We practice for a little longer and a lot more specific event training,” Sims added. 

     As the season approaches, the Sixth Formers are enforcing their leadership skills and beginning to establish goals. 

     “I just want everyone to improve,” Sims said. “No matter if it’s by one second or one inch, if everyone improves, I will be happy.”

Everybody is working hard and serious about their craft. We want to inspire the young guys too and make sure they are putting their best effort towards getting better.”

A.J. Sanford ’21

     While Sims’ goals for the season are more direct, Sanford has higher expectations for the team’s success this season.

     “I think we [Sixth Formers] want a championship title. Last year we were absolutely on pace to repeat the Inter-Ac, but the season was cut. I believe a few of us seniors have some school records in sight and with this great new coaching, these goals are definitely achievable,” Sanford said. 

    In order to achieve Sanford’s lofty expectations, a team effort will be necessary. 

   “Everybody is working hard and serious about their craft,”  Sanford said. “We want to inspire the young guys too and make sure they are putting their best effort towards getting better.”

Author: Ryan Rodack '22

Ryan serves as an Editor-in-Chief for and is in his fourth year working for The Index. He previously served as the arts section editor and a managing editor. In the spring of 2021, Ryan earned recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards for for his piece features piece, “Mr. Andrén pursues his dream job.” Ryan most frequently covers the sports, features, and news sections in his writing.