Imagine joining a sports team and, four years later, being able to receive a position on a national team. While this is something many only dream about, senior Martina Mickos proves it can be done.
She traveled to Sweden to run with the Finnish Junior National track team against its Swedish counterpart in the Finnkampen Meet from September 8-9.
At the meet she placed fourth in both the 100m, with a time of 12.46 sec, and the 200m, with a time of 25.65 sec. In the 4x100m, running with teammates she had only just met, her team was disqualified for handing off the baton outside of the hand-off zone.
“We could’ve won if we’d practice more … but we only had one day to practice together before the meet,” Martina said.
Only the top two runners of every country ran at the meet. Martina was able to enter the junior national team by maintaining her Finnish citizenship after moving from Finland in eighth grade. She returns to Finland every summer to train with her Finnish track club team. Last summer, she entered in the National Meet, which is open to all athletes. Placing second in the 4x100m, 4x300m and the 100m gave her a spot on the junior national team.
Despite her long list of accomplishments, Martina only started running in eighth grade at Egan Intermediate School, but enjoyed it so much that she decided to join the track team at the school. It turned out to be a good decision.
“I guess I didn’t really know how fast I was, but then I ran varsity all through freshman year,” Martina said,
After that, she joined the local club team FOX Athletics and a Finnish club team in order to continue training during the offseason.
“Martina started off … with some talent, but what really shot her to the top was how extremely dedicated and driven she remained over the last four years,” said Julia Widstrand, coach and founder of FOX Athletics and LAHS track and cross-country coach up to 2006.
That dedication has clearly paid off, since Martina currently holds the 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m records at the school.
The only thing Martina has left to prove is not whether she has any potential as a runner, but rather how far she will push herself next.