Speedy Seahawks

Students and faculty take up a new post-lunch sporting event


Sage McHenry, Copy

“The Nelson family comes from a long line of Norwegian race walkers, so race walking has been a part of my blood since I could walk,” says faculty member Eric Nelson. Nelson is widely known for coming up with creative games and activities for students and faculty to participate in at Seabury. Whether the idea comes to him five minutes before it takes place or  marinates in his head for ages, all Nelson-sponsored contests are consistently popular amongst the school community. Although the alchemist has come up with many challenges over the years, his most recent race walking matchups have really gotten students and faculty fired up. 

It all started when he announced that the race walking world champion was among us: his advisee, senior Darby Harris. Harris easily dominated in the very first race of the season. “My favorite moment had to be when Darby unseated the great champion McCaffrey,” says Nelson. Faculty member Leslie McCaffrey was the first member of the school community to be annihilated by Harris on the race walking track, otherwise known as the Seabury commons.  

Although Harris’s race walking talents are undeniable, there is some talk amongst the student body that her abilities are not all that they seem. “Darby Harris is truly overrated. Paper champion. I’ve seen her lose multiple times. I’ve seen her team lose multiple times. It’s only a matter of time before the whole school sees it as well,” says junior Enzo Karam. Karam led a team consisting of himself and seniors Jonah Kim, Gobind Singh and Sam Hertzog to victory over a racing walking squad made up by Harris and new faculty members Will Whipple, Shane Richmond and Elena Rusche. “On my team, I think the stride capability of Sam Hertzog, along with his quickness, was really dangerous,” says Karam. “We had a really good start with Jonah, but it was our baton passing skills that separated us from the teachers’ team.”

 “I expected the race to be close, but I was not confident that we would win,” says Rusche. “Whipple did all the work. He found Darby as our fourth walker. He was definitely our team leader.” Despite the leadership skills of Whipple and the speed of Harris, Rusche’s intuition was correct, and Karam’s team took the win.

As competition has progressed, slight variance in race walking technique has been seen. “It’s all in the hips,” says Nelson, “I think if you see the quintessential champion, the legend Darby Harris, and you see the hip action there, you understand why she is the world champion.” It is no question that the key to a good race walk is thought to be in the hips, but junior Lear Eicher has paved the way for a new style of race walking to come onto the scene. His great stride distinguishably separates him from other race walking styles.

“I think Lear is a big threat. Lear is a great race walker. He has shown great potential,” says Karam. Although his technique is praised by many, supporters of the traditional race walking technique, displayed elegantly by Harris, share much criticism for Eicher’s racing.

“The hips are the ultimate difference between Lear, who is a good minor-league race walker, and Darby. He just has no business on the same race walking track as Darby Harris,” says Nelson. The talk about a showdown between these two racers has been impossible to ignore, but after that battle has commenced, students are hoping to see what will happen when the world’s top two race walking teams face off. Many wonder if the combined efforts of Harris and Eicher will be enough to take down Karam’s squad. 

“I’m excited for the Lear vs Darby matchup, but I’ve heard that they are confident that their team of four Harris, Eicher, Defebvre and senior Shea Hanna] can take down the team I have. I definitely think it is time to see that as well,” says Karam.

Though seeing these returning highschool race walkers has been entertaining to say the least, there is hope that some young talent will soon be discovered after the highly popular Mahomes race that took place on Jersey Day during spirit week. “I liked the Mahomes race, but they were all cheating. I would like to see a real middle school matchup,” says Rusche. “I feel like potentially the best race walker at our school has not yet been discovered. They are just hiding in the lunch tables.”

Whether the true champion is obvious, they have yet to prove themself, or they have yet to even be discovered, it is clear the race walking is a favorite amongst students and faculty. Is race walking here to stay? Will other Nelson-sponsored activities be making their way into the post-lunch competition scene? As Nelson so eloquently says, “Race walking is here to stay, but so may other things be.”