The Final Stretch

Senior Spotlight on Student-Athlete Kayla Larkin-Goldman

The+Abington+Girls+4x200m+relay+team+comprised+of+%28left+to+right%29+sophomore+Kaylie+Groom%2C+junior+Kaylee+Carver%2C+senior+Kayla+Larkin-Goldman%2C+and+sophomore+Maria+Wood.+They+placed+3rd+at+the+South+Shore+League+Championships+on+1%2F30%2F20+at+the+Reggie+Lewis+Center+in+Roxbury%2C+MA

Caly Wood, with permission

The Abington Girls 4x200m relay team comprised of (left to right) sophomore Kaylie Groom, junior Kaylee Carver, senior Kayla Larkin-Goldman, and sophomore Maria Wood. They placed 3rd at the South Shore League Championships on 1/30/20 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA

Many athletes consider running as a means of training for their sport and to get stronger and increase endurance. For Abington senior Kayla Larkin-Goldman, running track and field is her chosen competitive sport. She is a member of both the Indoor and Outdoor track teams.

Larkin has been involved in track and field for quite a while. Whereas most young runners in Abington aren’t introduced to track or cross country until 5th grade, Larkin joined a youth track team in Quincy at just five years old. When asked how she joined so early, she credited her father. “My dad was the one who introduced me to a variety of sports at a young age. Track just always stuck with me,” Larkin said.

Knowing that the sport was right for her, Larkin later joined the Cambridge Jets AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) club team at age seven, saying “I traveled with my AAU team all around New England to compete.” Even though she was relatively new to the sport, finding out which event she was meant for was easy. “I first started with sprints and fell in love with the excitement and adrenaline that came along with it. Competing in races that specifically demand high levels of speed always gave me a sense of empowerment,” Larkin said.

As her track career progressed from AAU to high school, Larkin realized that she, like many other track athletes, had a favorite event. Larkin prefers the 200 meter dash over anything else due to the pre-race anticipation and her ability to build up speed.

“There is a certain level of nervousness that comes with setting myself up in my starting blocks. When I run, I feel free, limitless, and resilient,” she began. “After experiencing this moment multiple times throughout my running career, I can confidently say there is no other feeling like it.”

Track has not only been an athletic outlet for Larkin. The sport has also taught her some valuable lessons. “I am naturally very critical of myself and strive to overcome any obstacles in life. Feeling a sense of power from a new PR (personal record), or qualifying for State Championships just proved that I am capable of surprising myself” she said. “I not only believe that I became a better athlete, but also a better person.” She was recently chosen as one of Abington’s captains for the 2020 spring track season due to her dedication and leadership capabilities.

Larkin knows that the highs come with the lows in sports. She has dealt with upper thigh injuries in the past winter and spring seasons, to the point “…where it would make my coaches and I question if I will be able to participate in the next track meet.” She quickly turned that into a positive, and said, “Having injuries taught me to develop patience. It’s uplifting and brings me energy to cheer on my teammates and encourage them in their races.”

Pullquote Photo

If you run track, it is mostly a mental game. Developing the courage and determination to put in the effort is half the battle.”

— Kayla Larkin '20

Larkin did not get to have her final season of outdoor track at AHS due to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling sports across the country. Nevertheless, she was left with many memories from seasons past. Despite having difficulty picking a favorite, she decided on a recent memory.

“I would say it was this past winter season. Being a senior, reality hit me and made me realize I am moving on from this chapter in my life to discover new ones,” Larkin said.

She also mentioned her team, who she considers a second family. Larkin said, “It made me develop a new appreciation for these amazing girls I call my teammates. It is bittersweet but but I will always remember each of their unique personalities that provided laughs, joy, support, love, and courage that brought all of us closer together and created lifelong bonds.”

Despite the spring season being cancelled, Larkin plans to run once more. She has committed to Southern New Hampshire University and plans to study engineering and run track for the Penmen. “I am thrilled to continue my track career running for a Division II team,” Larkin said. She set the bar high for herself and said,  “One of my main goals is to reduce my 200m time about three to four seconds through my years in college.”

Larkin has some tips that anyone-not just track athletes-can use. “Keep striving to reach and even exceed your goals. Always try to surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. If you run track, it is mostly a mental game. Developing the courage and determination to put in the effort is half the battle,” she said. For those who are student athletes, she stresses the importance of a balance between school and sports. “Keep pushing yourself academically and physically to maintain that well-rounded balance,” she said.

Larkin would like to thank her parents for getting her into track and sacrificing their time for her, Coaches Campbell and Caseley for developing her into the person she is today and the support and encouragement they’ve provided, and her teammates for believing in her, teaching her leadership skills and the true meaning of friendship, and impacting her life in a huge way.

Larkin finished by saying “I wish the best of luck to the AHS track team with whatever the future holds in store for them.”

Note: Author Maria Wood is also a member of the Green Wave Indoor and Outdoor Track teams

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