How did the Track Runner Get Over His Fear of Hurdles? He Got Over It!

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An Interview with Harper Andrews

Harper Andrews is a junior runner on the boys’ indoor track team, the Greyducks. Last year, Andrews placed first at the Manhattan Borough Championship in the triple jump event, and this year, he qualified yet again for all of three of his events at Boroughs and Cities. This year, he is hoping to place within the top three in all his events and break the school record with his 4 X 200 relay team.

Grade: Junior
Height: 6’2”
Eye color: Blue
Hair color: Blonde
DOB: April 9, 2002

1. When did you start running, and what events did you participate in?

I started running in the fourth grade, and I started doing shotput. I then transitioned into the 200-meter and long jump and continued that trend. When I got to high school, I started [running] further distances and picked up more complicated events like the high jump and the triple jump.

2. Do you run outside of school competitively?

During preseason, since the beginning of fall semester, I joined a private club created by the coach at Stuyvesant from two years ago. Previously, I had trained with him for about a year. The club’s name is Optimist Track NYC, and I committed to the team along with the Greyducks.

3. What are your personal goals for the winter season?

Boroughs is this weekend, so what I’m hoping for there is to place within the top three in all of my events. I am less worried about that than Cities, which is in three weeks, and I qualified for it in all of my events. That would be the long jump and triple jump. Additionally, this past weekend, my 4 X 200 relay qualified as well. For all these events individually, it’s probably just important to break my personal record. Furthermore, for the relay, we have a chance at placing within the top six, which would be awesome.

4. How do you try to improve, and what does a practice session consist of for you?

I do track every weekday and some Saturdays, for about three to four hours each day. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I’ll probably travel to 168th street, where the Amory is. I might also travel to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to do more of the running and field events, as there is more availability with the tracks. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do a lot of strength training. This will change as we transition into the spring, as it will focus more on losing weight and getting faster.

5. How do you balance track meets and schoolwork? Do you have suggestions for how to be efficient with your time?

I get back home every day around 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m., so I dive right into it. I think it’s important not to stall or relax because there’s always the night for that. In track, there are also always opportunities to talk to many track people—something other teams might not have comparatively.

6. Proudest movement?

Well, I have broken records for myself each year. My personal records have been getting faster from freshman year to now. More recently, I almost reached my personal goal of running the 200-meter in under 24 seconds, a really proud moment for me. I also got first in the city for my age group in the high jump last year, so that was really exciting. Something I’m looking forward to is breaking the school record in the long jump.

7. Any embarrassing moments or funny moments this year?

There is a moment in every track meet when there is a baton fumble—when it flies out of one person’s hand. Sometimes, it goes absolutely flying, and it’s a mixture of hilarity and tragedy. It’s pretty funny but depressing, unless it isn’t your baton!

8. Favorite memory from meets?

In terms of the field events, it’s usually just me and this senior, Jeffrey Wu. There’s always a good laugh when we are watching other people jump. [This is] because it’s a good way to observe and improve ourselves but also laugh, as people make funny faces when they laugh.

Choice drink: Slurpee
Favorite food: Mac & Cheese
Motto to live by: “If you ain’t first, you last.”
Fun fact: I’m Australian!