Varsity Track Teams Take First and Second at States

It has been a record-setting, winning winter season for the George School Winter Track teams. To top it off, the girls’ team brought home the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) title this year. The boys’ team placed second, just behind Hill School. The PAISAA Indoor Track & Field Championships were held at Mercersburg Academy on Saturday, January 29, 2022.

For the girls’ team, Maya Kowalska ’23 was first in the 400m and the 1600m. Neha Kotha ’22 was first in the 55m Hurdles and second in the Long Jump. Aimee Oszer ’23 took second place in the Shot Put. The 4×400 Relay team of Neha, Jasmine George ’25, Faith Fuller ’23, and Maya took second place. The Varsity Girls’ Winter Track team scored a total of 119 points at the meet, setting 21 new personal records and 2 Indoor school records.

For the boys’ team, Zane Wasicko ’22 was first in the 800m. Paul Roesch ’23 was first in the 55m Hurdles. Elijah Smith ’22 took first place in the Triple Jump and second place in the High Jump. Silas Kennedy ’22 took first in the Pole Vault. The team scored a total of 129 points, setting 23 new personal records and 3 Indoor school records.

“Both teams had strong performances and exceeded expectations at States,” said Head Coach Mike Bailey. “Our athletes scored a number of top marks and personal bests.”

Mike believes in creating an atmosphere where students can expand their comfort zones. They learn to build their skills in phases, using smaller drills to gain both strength and confidence. “Our athletes become excited and aware of their own mind and body as they experiment with new challenges. This builds their self-confidence and speeds up their growth,” explained Mike.

One of the highlights of coaching for Mike is watching student-athletes have ah-ha moments—when they realize they are good at something they never thought they could do. And there were plenty this season beyond the state championships.

Aimee Oszer ’23 won the Germantown Academy Shot Put Invitational on February 7, 2022, setting a George School Indoor Track record of 31’2.5″, then breaking her own record with 3’1 8” at the state meet. When she broke that record, she had one of those ah-ha moments.

“Everything I’ve been practicing felt like it clicked; as if the things Mike has taught me came together in such a way that I didn’t even need to think about what I was doing, I just knew,” Aimee said. “Throwing in this way was a very freeing feeling, knowing that I tend to restrict my capabilities by constantly analyzing my mistakes.”

Another ah-ha moment this season happened when Elijah Smith ’22 set two George School Indoor Track records by throwing 39’10” in the Shot Put and 38’7” in the Triple Jump. He also broke his own school record in the State meet with a throw of 40’1”.

“Setting the Triple Jump record and tying with the other High Jump records were great accomplishments that I am thankful to be a part of. The Shot-Put record, however, holds a special meaning,” said Elijah. “I decided to try Spring Track in my junior year and the only other thrower was Eddy Abban ’21 whose sense of humor and love for throwing inspired me to want to throw as well. Competing for George School in Shot Put with Eddy was the highlight of that year and it is an honor to have broken his Indoor Track record for my senior year. My hope is that I will be able to go into the spring season and break his record there as well.”

Elijah said that Mike supported him in many aspects during his time at George School. “As the Head Coach, his knowledge of the sport allows me to rely on him for advice in the multiple events I compete in, not just Shot Put. As my Dorm Head, his strict but loving nature helps keep the dorm tidy and in high spirits. Whether on or off the track, Mike makes sure you feel like family.”

Aimee agreed with Elijah. “Mike is a constant supporter, and as a strong coach, influences me to take after his intense go-get-it mentality, regardless of the situation being athletics or academics. Especially when I overanalyze and overthink, he is a major help when I’m trying to stabilize my focus and ground myself to do what I do best.”

Prior to his five years at George School, Mike was the Head Women’s Track and Field Coach at the University of Southern California. He coached two 1988 Olympians while there, Wendy Brown, Heptathlon, and Yvette Bates, Long Jump Alternate. Mike currently wears many hats at George School including Winter and Spring Track & Field Head Coach, Upper Drayton Dorm Head, and George School Day Camp Director.

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