WESTFIELD, NJ — Amanda Paden’s typical track event is the 800 meter and the 1600 meter, and while she’s running alone on the streets during the pandemic, she’s still covering her usual distances.
Paden, an 18-year-old senior at Westfield High School, is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week. Head girls track coach Joe Berardi featured Paden as Tuesday’s “Senior Spotlight.”
“If I could give any piece of advice, it would be that you should enjoy every day you get to share with your team no matter if it is in the locker rooms, on the bus to a meet, or on a road run because those are the moments that truly shape the season and make racking and meets worth it,” Paden said in the feature posted to Twitter.
Paden told TAPinto Westfield that while this season has been rough due to COVID-19, she’s still been keeping up with her practices.
“I usually just take my watch out with me and I time myself,” Paden said. “I’ll usually go out for a range of 30 minutes to 60 minutes. It varies by the day.”
The training is based off of practices that Berardi has posted to digital platforms, she said. Paden, who plays basketball in the winter and plays alto saxophone in the marching band in the fall, is also connecting online with her fellow track teammates.
“We reach out to other girls in the program to check in to see how they’re doing during quarantine and what their running schedules are like,” Paden said.
The community aspect of the sport, she said, is what has kept her with it through the years. “I have a lot of friends that I’ve made in all grades through it, so I love that aspect,” she said.
The high point of her track career, she said, was participation in the Union County relays last spring.
Paden is headed to Syracuse University in the fall, and said she is considering a double major in psychology and communications design.
“I really love design and might want to go into something like branding for companies,” she said.
She is also hoping for some type of in person graduation, even if it comes later in the summer.
“It would be a great way of getting closure if we could all see each other again, obviously, under certain circumstances,” Paden said.