A.J. Sanford leads mid-distance track team

A.J. Sanford running in a meet against Malvern and Springside Chestnut Hill April 17, 2021 – Jeffrey Yang ’22

As the spring season comes to a close, teams are working hard to perform at the highest level during their final opportunities together. Senior athletes are entering a mood of reflection on their high school years, while also preparing for the next phase of their athletic careers. For the track and field team, Sixth Former A.J. Sanford has made a great impact.

     The electrifying runner was selected as the Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week in January, and he has carried his excellence into the spring season, leaving a lasting mark on the athletic program while impressing his teammates and coaches. Despite Sanford’s magnificent performance, the track and field team’s season has not come without adversity.

     “We’ve had a lot of injuries during the season that have held us back a bit, but for the most part, we’ve stayed contenders in a lot of categories,” Sanford said. “People are training hard, and our athletes are performing really well when they do compete. So, if we had a fully healthy team, I think there’s no doubt we’d be very good right now.”

     The season has also included a coaching change, with new Track and Field Director Mr.  Ron Hunter leading the team. Sanford feels that the coaching style has had a positive impact on the group’s camaraderie.

     “Since we got new coaching, the team dynamic changed a little bit,” Sanford said. “The sprinters and the distance runners usually don’t get to interact very much, just because we’re on different schedules and workout regimens, but this year we’ve had a chance to bond through a couple of different workouts.”

     As a senior, Sanford has experienced an increase in his leadership role, and has used the position to help his teammates improve.

     Sanford said, “I think as a leader, the most important thing is just working with your teammates and holding them accountable, but obviously still having fun and being part of the team.”

     Being part of the team has developed Sanford both physically and mentally, and he attributes a large portion of his success to the school’s running programs.

     “There’s no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be at the level that I’m at without Haverford’s coaching staff,” Sanford said. “They’ve always done a really good job of being positive and also holding me accountable. I can say from my freshman year to now, I’m definitely a more disciplined athlete.”

     Over the course of all his years running, Sanford has not lost any of his competitive spirit.

     “My favorite part of competition is just getting in the zone,” Sanford said. “People don’t really attribute track and field to being a hype sport, but that build-up to the race, and getting ready to compete at a high level—it’s a feeling that’s indescribable.”

“Before I graduate and go off to college, the goal is to hit some of those records.”

A.J. Sanford ’21

     Sanford is looking forward to the future, where he will continue his athletic career  at the collegiate level. He has committed to Lafayette College, a Division-I program in the Patriot League. Until then, Sanford still has his sights set on high school excellence.

     “I hope to excel when I get there, but as of now I still have some school records that I want to get, and know that I’m capable of getting,” Sanford said. “So, before I graduate and go off to college, the goal is to hit some of those records.”