This spring, PHS track Captain Alex Roth ’17 will take the track for the last time before beginning his running career at the University of Pennsylvania. Roth has been running on the PHS cross country team his freshman year, but his lifetime running career originated at the Princeton Charter School.
Roth describes his transition to high school running as a social change, seeing that he was already highly ranked when he began.“I was a pretty quick freshman. I was about third or fourth on the team overall,” said Roth. “The biggest transition was probably that I didn’t really know too many people on the team.”
Since the beginning of his PHS running career, Head Coach James Smirk saw potential in Roth.
“I sat the [cross country] guys down, I said, ‘Hey look, Alex, when you’re a senior, we’re going to win Meet of Champions in cross country,’” said Smirk. “I think when I said that, there was a little bit of disbelief across the board.”
Beyond Roth’s days as an underclassmen athlete, Smirk continues to see consistent talent from Roth as a runner and a trailblazer for what’s possible for the team.
“What you’re seeing from him today … is really a product of very consistent hard work,” said Smirk. “Going to nationals in cross country is the first time we’ve ever had an athlete from [PHS] do that … that’s laying new foundation for future success.”
Roth has also outlined several personal goals and goals for the team for the new season. Roth currently runs the 3200-meter, 1600-meter and occasionally the 800-meter races.
“For track I’m hoping to maybe take a run at sectional groups and Meet of Champs titles in the 3200,” Roth said. “Our [team] goal is to win counties and sectionals. We should have a good shot at winning [those].”
Along the lines of goal setting for Roth, Smirk insists that Roth has found success through his own motivation.
“He’s always been a really internally motivated kid,” said Smirk. “[I] provide him with an opportunity to imagine what’s possible.”
Chao, a close teammate of Roth, also appreciates the role Roth has taken on throughout the years.
“He’s really dedicated. He sets a really good example for the rest of us,” said Chao.
Upon reflection of Roth’s four-year experience as a year-round runner, Smirk and Roth both agree on one consistent theme: patience.
“Early in his career he was pretty [impatient],” said Smirk. “He wanted to be great from day one.”
Roth said, “You can’t have everything you want all at once. You need to be patient in order to achieve what you want.”