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Ian Loehmann completed his career with the East Haven boys’ indoor track program by having a great senior season in which he posted a pair of top-three finishes at the SCC West Sectional Championship. (Photo courtesy of Ian Loehmann )
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While some track athletes might focus on a single event, Ian Loehmann has become a jack-of-all-trades for the Yellowjackets. Ian has experience competing in four events and excelled in both the hurdles and high jump as a senior.
Ian scored 41 points to lead the East Haven boys’ indoor track team in that category this winter. Ian turned in a stellar showing at the SCC West Sectional Championship by taking second place in the high jump and finishing third for the 55-meter hurdles.
“Track has helped me grow as a person,” says Ian. “Coming into high school, I wasn’t the most social or athletic person. Getting into track helped me get out of my comfort zone.”
Ian joined the East Haven track program in his freshman year. Although he had played other sports, Ian was looking for one in which he could succeed individually, while still contributing to the greater good of a team.
“I’ve never liked the idea of someone else having to win for you, but I’ve always liked the idea of being on a team,” Ian says. “I think track was my perfect fit, being both an individual sport for your events where I can run and I can compete, but still being on a team and contributing to the team.”
Ian thought of himself as a sprinter when he first showed up at practice. However, Head Coach Rusty Dunne felt that Ian would be a better fit as a hurdler and high jumper. At first, Ian was skeptical about learning two new events, but he quickly warmed up to the idea of being a multi-faceted athlete.
“It’s a lot more work at practice, but especially at meets,” says Ian. “My events sometimes happen at the same time, so you have to be on top of everything. They aren’t going to necessarily wait for you. It has definitely helped my time management over the four years.”
As he was learning his new events, Ian adopted a pre-race ritual that he continued all the way through his senior year. Prior to his events, Ian wishes good luck to all the athletes going against him. At the end of the race, he congratulates each of them on their performance.
Ian was inspired to implement this routine by former teammate Zach Vallas, who graduated last year. Ian calls Vallas “one of the most respectful and polite kids I’ve ever met.” After watching Vallas show so much respect to his opponents, Ian wanted to continue that tradition himself.
“I noticed his impact that he had on people and how they would compete or feel about themselves,” Ian says of Vallas. “Since then, before and after races, I’ve tried to congratulate everybody and make sure that maybe I can have the same impact on people that he has had on me.”
Coach Dunne has seen Ian’s impact on the Easties throughout the past four years. Dunne praises Ian for his work ethic and versatility and says the Yellowjackets’ athletes learn a lot by working with him.
“With Ian, we get a lot of bang for our buck. He’s a good athlete, but Ian has success because of his work ethic,” says Dunne. “Ian could do a lot of different events. He works so hard at it, and he’s technically good at it. He works hard in terms of conditioning. He works hard in the weight room. He pushes himself.”
Coach Dunne adds that Ian has hardly ever missed a practice in his tenure at East Haven. It’s all about consistency for Ian, who knows that taking just one day off could detract from all the hard work he’s already done.
“The coaches have always said that you can come to practice for a week straight, then if you miss a day, all your progress is gone,” Ian says. “You can work really hard, but the more you miss, the less you get to keep improving. I’ve always wanted to just get faster and be better. Going to practice has really helped me improve to the best of my abilities.”
Ian continuously trimmed his times while reaching new heights during his high school career. Along the way, Ian used track as a way to grow both as an athlete and a person.
“I’ve met a lot more people and achieved a lot more things. Track has definitely shaped me into who I am,” says Ian says. “I don’t know who I really would be today if I haven’t run track the past four years. Whether it’s being dedicated or being a leader or going out and competing, it’s all impacted my life.”
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