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Racing into the recordbooks

Ivy Chan '24

Feb 3, 2023

An exciting moment for the girls indoor track and field team took place two weeks ago when Hannah King ’23, Erika Tso Sowah ’24, Anne Sehon ’25, and Adrienne Howard ’26 broke the 4x400m relay record, turning in a time of 4:23.83, nearly two seconds faster than the previous record.  (Uniquely, the record setting relay represents every grade in the school.)


Grady noted that the four girls have been standout runners since the beginning of the season. “Hannah King recognized early on that with herself, Anne Sehon, and Erika Sowah, there was the potential to approach the school record. After seeing Adrienne run in workouts, Hannah realized we had a legitimate fourth runner who could complete the relay team. From then on, it was really the girls who motivated each other to work together towards the goal of beating the record.” 

Head indoor track and field coach David Grady shared the different things the girls did to prep for their race. “The girls ran hard in interval workouts to improve their ability to perform well at racing 400 meters. They also worked together on baton handoffs for the relay. The challenge for a relay is to get everyone to run their best on the same day. So, mental preparation is important as well, and it really was the girls who encouraged each other to be ready on race day.” 

King explained their mentality going into the race; “We knew we could break the record, and it was just a matter of doing it. Although we also made it a point to tell each other we could only do our best and that there are more opportunities to not be very hard on ourselves.” 

Erika Sowah shared how she prepped race; “I always listen to music to hype myself up before warming up. Then as a group, we would do warm-up laps outside and stretches together. Right before we run the four of us hold a baton and pray to Beyoncé–it’s funny so it calms our nerves a bit.” 

About the ritual King quipped, “Before our first race together, we thought of someone we all respected, and [Beyoncé] was the clear winner.”

About the possibility of breaking the record, Sowah said, “Our mentality was to run the best we could because we realized that if we went into the race trying to break the record, we might jinx ourselves. So instead, we each said we would give it our best shot, and see what happens from there.” 

Meet strategy also played a part in the record-breaking performance.  Sehon revealed, “My coaches and I also decided to run in the 1600 meters instead of the 800 one so that I would have some more energy in my legs for the 4x400.” 

Sehon added, “We went on a warm-up run and talked about how we just needed to treat it like any other race. We wanted to give it our all without feeling the pressure of attempting to break a record because that mentality could make or break a race for someone.” 

Similarly, Howard said, “To prep, I made sure to stay hydrated and eat well before the meet. I also made sure to stretch the nights leading up to the meet and even took an ice bath. Going into this meet, our thought was to sprint as hard as we could and to leave all our energy on the track. When we felt like giving up, we just reminded ourselves that it was only two laps.” 

Grady also shared the plan going into Mid-Atlantic Prep League and Pennsylvania independent schools championship meets. “For the championship meets, the athletes will focus primarily on individual events. That said, they are all capable of coming back with a strong relay performance at the end of the meet. Hannah King is hoping to defend her high jump titles in the MAPL and PAISAA. Anne Sehon was runner-up in both the MAPL and PAISAA in the 800m and she is hoping to win the 800m in those meets this year. Erika Sowah is looking to challenge for the top spot in the triple jump and long jump, and Adrienne Howard will look to place well in the long jump and 200m.” 


King hopes the relay team will place well against the other MAPL and PAISAA schools. She said, “We don’t have a particular time we are working towards. It is really important to the four of us that we relax because we are our own worst critics when analyzing our races.”

Sehon expressed similar ambitions; “I’m really excited for PAISAA’s and MAPL’s because I think we all have a shot to PR in both our single events and the 4x400. Both meets will have very competitive relay races, so we might be pushed to break the record again in search of a MAPL and state title.”

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