2024 Gazette Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year: Allie Sullivan, Northampton

Northampton’s Allie Sullivan was tabbed as the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.

Northampton’s Allie Sullivan was tabbed as the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By BRADY COTE

Staff Intern

Published: 04-24-2024 3:54 PM

As a sophomore at Northampton High School, Allie Sullivan has already blown away her coaches by her sheer skill, hard work, and dedication to track and field.

It is her talent to quickly pick up events and excel that separates her from many other high school athletes.

“In indoor [track], Allie does — actually I think a better thing is what doesn't Allie do,” said Northampton coach Moira McDonald. “She did the 55 [meters], that was her main event, and she did high jump. She started to do long jump and actually was really good at that. She did the four-by-two [relay] in indoor, and we needed her for a four-by-four one as well. She hopped right on the line and did that for us and just as usual, just blew us out of the water and it was amazing”

Those efforts helped Sullivan be selected as the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year for the 2023-24 season.

Sullivan competed and scored in all 15 of the regular season dual meets this winter, as well as the PVIAC Individual Championships, and the MIAA Division 3 Track & Field Championships scoring an astounding 205.75 points for the season.

Her versatility to compete in multiple events and to do well in them is any track and field coach's dream. One event alone can be exhausting to an athlete, but for Sullivan, doubling and even tripling doesn’t stop her from exceeding expectations.

“I just feel I try to go in with as little pressure on myself as I can because I definitely have very high standards for myself,” said Sullivan. “But if I go in saying the best I can do is the best I can do, that's usually where I’m able to compete the best.”

For the 2024 indoor season, Sullivan’s personal bests were a 7.62 seconds in the 55 meter dash at the PVIAC Indoor Championships, 5 feet even in the high jump, and 16 feet, 6.75 inches in the long jump — both those measurements coming at the MIAA Division 3 Indoor Track & Field Championships.

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All of these times can be credited to Sullivan and her teammates' willingness to follow a fluctuating practice schedule at the Smith College indoor track.

“Some days we'd have to be there at the times that they would give us — 6:30 to 8:30 in the morning, or like 7:30 to 9:30 at night, and all of these kids would just show up,” said McDonald. “No matter what time it would be, it could be so late at night and they'd still show up and do the workout and it obviously paid off.”

When it comes to training for events, Northampton doesn’t have a high jumping coach, but Sullivan looks toward her sister – a collegiate high jumper – for advice.

“We don't have a total coach, but my sister comes in and helps sometimes because she was a high jumper in college, but I don't actually get a lot of practice with it,” said Sullivan. “I usually do sprint workouts, but mostly I just find my marks and make sure I'm comfortable with it right before the meet.”

Coach McDonald was able to point out that there are a lot of ways that Sullivan is able to train for multiple events at the same time, due to an overlap of similar exercises. There are days where she would only do half of a sprint workout and pick up the rest of the reps on the runway while training for long jump.

Placed in a multitude of different events, Sullivan said she prefers high jump, as she feels she is able to get into a groove by not overcomplicating it and just competing.

“My favorite is high jump because I feel the least pressure in that one,” said Sullivan. “I think it's the most fun because you just get to jump, no one really watches it so there's definitely a lot less pressure, and I feel like that's what I really thrive in the most.”

Sullivan said all of this and more was possible because of her supporting cast of friends, family, and coaches.

“My coaches are always telling me that they know that I can do better,” said Sullivan. “Especially when I'm really hard on myself, they're always able to make me understand that everyone has off days. If I have a PR or something, my teammates are always so happy for me, and it's just really good to feel that way and know that other people are happy for me, too. And then my mom and my dad, even if I have a horrible meet, they're always saying something really nice about me, they always give me high-fives, and support me through everything.”

Not even halfway into her high school track and field career, Sullivan has an additional two years to continue to turn heads and smash PRs as she steps on the track.

“She's only a sophomore, and at such a young age she just has that natural raw talent and that drive to get better,” said McDonald. “I can't wait to get her into different competitions, like those bigger meets where she can really, really compete and see how much stronger and faster she can get in her events.”