Spotlight of the Week: Maya Beleznay, Emily Faulhaber, Amanda Schwartz, Tsion Yared, and Mahadere Yared


Courtesy of Emily Faulhaber

[From left to right]: Amanda Schwartz, Tsion Yared, Emily Faulhaber, Maya Beleznay, and Mahadere Yared are all smiles as they prepare to set records at the 51st Annual Arcadia Invitational track meet.

Over spring break, five members of the Pine Crest track team traveled to Arcadia High School in Los Angeles County on April 6th and 7th to compete in the 51st annual Arcadia Invitational track meet, where the top track and field athletes in the country gathered to showcase their talents. Pine Crest sophomores Maya Beleznay, Emily Faulhaber, Amanda Schwartz, Tsion Yared, and freshman Mahadere Yared represented the Panthers track program in California in the 4×1600 meter relay, 3200 meter open run, and the Girls Distance Medley Relay events.

Starting off the important weekend in Arcadia on Friday night, Amanda Schwartz, Mahdere Yared, Emily Faulhaber, and Tsion Yared ran the Girls 4×1600 meter relay.  The girls pulled off a strong start to the meet by recording an official time of 20:24.73 and placing second, setting a new Florida state record by 10 seconds, beating the school record by 40 seconds, and establishing their time as the 13th fastest time recorded ever in the United States. To add on to the team’s impressive accolades, the girls found out that their time was the fastest in the history of the United States for a combined team of freshmen and sophomores.  To add on to Pine Crest’s success at the meet, Maya Beleznay ran the 3200 meter rated run later that night, finishing in 11:28.62.

“It was an amazing opportunity where we were able to run against the top teams in the country,” said anchor and runner Tsion Yared. “That definitely pushed us to run a U.S. #2 time in the 4×1600. It was an experience we will never forget.”

On Saturday evening, Mahdere Yared, Amanda Schwartz, Emily Faulhaber, and Tsion Yared ran the strenuous Distance Medley Relay to cap off the weekend for Pine Crest, where they raced to run four legs of nonuniform distances. The first athlete runs a 1200 meter leg, the second a 400 meter leg, the third an 800 meter, and finally a runner finishes the event with a 1600 meter leg. Mahdere Yared ran a 3:41 for the 1200 meter, Amanda Schwartz a 59.6 in the 400 meter, Emily Faulhaber a 2:20.2 for the 800 meter, and Tsion Yared finished with a 4:56 mile run. The team finished with a final time of 11:58.30, earning them 4th place in the Arcadia Invitational meet and allowing them to beat the school record by more than 14 seconds, which also happens to be the third fastest time recorded in Florida. 

Freshman Mahdere Yared described her experience in her leg of the race, saying, “Starting was a little difficult because there were over 24 people on the track. This meant things got a little physical… because I was smaller compared to the other girls.” She added, “Our [relay] team ran the 3rd fastest time in Florida history and the fastest time in school history.”

The five student-athletes who attended the exclusive trip had the time of their lives and represented the Panthers prestigiously, receiving high honors and awards. When asked about the trip as a whole, Emily Faulhaber described, “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to travel across the country and race against so many other talented teams. We were pushed to our very best, and we all learned so much from competing at such a big meet.”