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A Track and Field Experience in Europe

Uncategorized- - By Heide Baron '20

Last week, I had the privilege of traveling abroad with the Princeton Track and Field team. Every four years, a group of athletes from both the men’s and women’s teams go on an international trip. In the past, the team has traveled to Cuba (2015), Greece (2011), and China (2007). This year, the team went to Italy, with stops in Rome, Florence, and Milan.

Most days consisted of a training session in the morning and a tour of the city in the afternoon. In Rome, we visited the Coliseum and the Roman Forum on the first day, and on the second day, the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. We spent our third day in Rome competing at our first meet, in which I ran the 200m dash and the 4x100m relay. This was the first time I had ever competed outside of the U.S., which was very exciting!

Members of the 4x100m relay teams at our meet in Rome. From left to right: Hanne Bortslap (’22), Carly Bonnet (’19), Ellie Randolph (’19), Kara Steele (’21), me, Kerri Davidson (’19), Ashley Willingham (’20), Ali Munson (’21).


In front of the Milan Cathedral

The next day was spent in Florence, where we we saw the statue of David. In Milan, we saw the beautiful Milan Cathedral, the Sforza Castle, and Michelangelo’s painting of The Last Supper. The restorative efforts for The Last Supper mural were incredible.

The last day we competed at our last meet, which I would have to say was my favorite part of the trip. In most track meets, people are  focused only on their performance. At this meet, however, they made it into more of a carnival-esque event with a DJ, merchandise tents, and food trucks, and the track was generously adorned in custom-made banners honoring the competition between the Italian and American athletes. I ran the 100m dash and the last leg of the Swedish relay (consisting of a 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m leg), a race I had never run. I had a blast enjoying the atmosphere of the meet and competing against the Italian athletes.

All in all, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this trip. No amount of thanks sufficiently expresses my appreciation for all the donations and time that went into making this trip wonderful happen. A big shout-out goes to the Friends of Princeton Track for their support, the coaches and staff for all their hard work, and my adviser for letting me take a week off from my summer research!


Heide Baron ’20

Thesis Advisor:  Professor Martin H.Wühr (MOL/Lewis Sigler)