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Snowden's hard work key in preparation for city championships

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  February 2, 2013 05:21 PM

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Snowden runners Huascarina Alvarez (left) and Vanessa Vilvert (right) sprint to the finish line (Shaquan Richards))

Despite the obstacles of coaching a developing track program made up of scholar-athletes from two additional schools, coach Pam Rose has found a way to achieve success for the Snowden girls track team.

The indoor track team just finished an undefeated regular season (6-0), giving them the south division title for the first time in Snowden’s history and they are now preparing for the city championships.

“It just felt like she really is trying to make you better,” sophomore relay runner Ajia Salmon said. “We worked hard all season, everyone shows up to practice and it paid off.”

This is the kind of effort Rose said has resulted in the team’s success. With the program having just 10 members two years ago, Rose could have focused on recruiting and increasing the amount of participants in the program. However, this just isn’t her philosophy.

“Numbers are not a priority. I’m interested in developing athletes,” Rose said.

She highlighted hard work and work ethic as the two best things to develop such athletes.

This required not just coaching the X and O’s of track but emphasizing the simple things like attendance.

“It requires going to practice every single day. It’s a accumulation of the work you build,” Rose said.

Actually, attendance may not be the easiest thing for Snowden. In addition to Snowden, the members of the team are made up of the Fenway School and the Quincy upper-school. All three of the schools have different dismissals, making scheduling time at the already busy Reggie Lewis Center very difficult.

Luckily, the Fenway students are dismissed early from school to go to practice, but the team is still only able to practice at the Reggie three days a week.

This does not stop the coach. For the two other days of practice, Rose will have her team either run the stairs in Snowden or practice outside.

Her philosophy is already producing results, not just in the mentality of her players but also the amount of participants on the team. The number of runners has already tripled from three years ago.

“I strongly believe it was the core group of kids that pulled over the other kids and got the kids to participate and work hard,” Rose said.

Junior Maria Lewis, Salmon’s teammate in the 4x2 relay, believed it was the family aspect of the team that has increased commitment to the team.

“When I’m at home, I miss these guys. I miss the laughing,” Lewis said. “It’s definitely like a second family.”

According to Lewis, it is that laughing and lighthearted environment that has resulted in the success in their meets.

“We’re always laughing and joking. Everyone else is serious and we’re just going crazy but we’re still using that same amount of energy we use to have fun in to hard work,” Lewis said.

The relay may require the most teamwork out of all the events in indoor track and for these girls, team unity was essential in order to win any meets, let alone their division title.

“When we won the league [division title] ... we worked as a team,” Salmon said. “Without our teammates, we wouldn’t be able to win as individuals. We achieved more things as a team.”

They certainly did. According to Rose, both runners, and the third member of their relay team, senior Vanessa Vilvert, are all considered the core members of the team. Vilvert also won the MVP award of the team last year.

However, Rose knew that her runners would achieve great things a year before, when she saw how they were displaying their work ethic.

“They are extremely hard-working and motivated. The first thing they asked me to do was put a state qualifying expectation on the website,” Rose said.

All three of the relay runners have qualified for this year’s state tournament and the entire team looks to make a mark in the Boston city indoor track championships.

“We can do some damage,” Lewis said.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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