On December 8th, Blair opened the 2021 indoor track and field season with dual meets against the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Running on a 160 meter track at the school’s Mercer Field House was a novel experience for most of the Bucs, but the boys’ and girls’ teams had prepared well in the weeks since their return from Thanksgiving break to post some solid results.
Chloe Lau '23 (55 hurdles), Petra Taylor '24 (400), Sasha Gershman '25 (long jump) and the 4x400 relay team of Petra, Chloe, Maria Andrinopoulos '23 and Nikki Patterson '22 emerged victorious in their events as the Hill girls defeated Blair by the score of 55-37. On the boys’ side, after Timmy Xi '22 (800) and Isaac Greene '24 (1600 and 3200) won events, a string of second and third place Blair finishes left the two teams tied with 38 points each heading into the meet’s final event. All eyes were on the long jump pit as Blair’s Etka Ayhan '22 had a close battle with Hill’s Quintin Craig and Jake Voynar. Etka defeated the two of them by the margin of 8 and a quarter inches - worth 5 points in the team score - and carried the boys’ team to a stirring one point victory.
On December 11th, Blair returned to New York City’s famed 168th Street Armory for the first time in two years to join 30 other New York State schools competing in the 15th annual Jim Mitchell Invitational. Chloe Lau '23 started off with a bang in the first race of the evening, placing 5th among the 28 girls entered in the 55 meter hurdles in a personal record time. That was the only traditional race the Bucs ran, with uncommon distances (300 meters; 600 meters; 1000 meters) replacing the more familiar 400/800/1600 generally run in indoor meets. Nevertheless, Blair accepted the challenge and, spurred on by the Armory’s fast track, had a very successful night.
Isaac Greene '24 medaled in the 600 and again in the 1000, placing third in both events against a field of over 55 runners each race. The girls 4 x 200 relay team of Sasha Gershman '25, Lila Cafferata '23, Chloe Lau '23 and Petra Taylor '24 placed 6th (out of 31 teams), showing just how much fun a competitive relay team can be when competing at the highest level. Not to be outdone by events on the track, captain Etka Ayhan '22 placed third in the triple jump and second in the long jump. Etka’s effort - a new personal best of 20 feet, 11 and a half inches - was less than two inches behind that of the champion. The crowning achievement of the evening, however, belonged to Brian Liu '23. Brian set a personal best in winning the shot put, his throw of 35 feet, 11 and three quarter inches edging the runner-up by the slimmest of margins - a quarter inch - to emerge as champion.