From injuries to perseverance, track star commits to Georgetown

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Photo courtesy of: Raehaan Poonja.

Jamie Kim, staff writer

When he first arrived at Beverly, senior Raehaan Poonja’s main interest was playing under the Friday night lights on the football field. However, it was on the track which surrounds the field that he found his greatest strengths.

After devoting four years to practices and training sessions, senior Raehaan Poonja committed to run track at Georgetown University, a Division I school.

“I was talking to a lot of other schools first, like Columbia, Brown, NYU and UCSD. Then, a couple of months ago, Georgetown kind of just came out of nowhere and started talking to me and offered me an official visit. They flew me out, and they paid for my flight, food and everything else,” Poonja said. “I just fell in love with the campus, and they asked me to commit. I just committed right then and there.”

His first introduction to track and field came during his freshman year, as he wished to participate in a spring sport. As a freshman on the varsity team, he placed second in league in the 100-meter dash.

“I got injured in football a lot in my freshman and sophomore years. Then, in junior year, I quit football; I just completely focused on track, and it really helped me run a lot faster and get the times that I needed to get into [a school] like Georgetown,” Poonja said.

He returned to football this year to enjoy playing with his friends for the last time in their high school careers.

“[During my] senior year, I actually did play football because I already knew that track only looks at your junior year times, so I knew that my times would be fine. So, I played football for fun senior year, but track definitely made a huge difference in my athletic career,” Poonja said.

While many of his peers may currently be working on or submitting applications to colleges, Poonja is glad that his commitment to Georgetown frees him from the stress.

“[I felt] really relieved [when I committed] because now, I’m going to have a really relaxing senior year, really just focus on track and on getting better. It’s great to know that I’m going to a good school next year,” Poonja said.

Poonja is hopeful regarding his upcoming years as a Georgetown athlete.

“I’m really excited to go to Georgetown: the school spirit, the really good school, all the good connections and opportunities that will come out of there. I’m really excited to go there and have a good time,” Poonja said.

As for Beverly, Poonja looks forward to his last year on the track and field team as a Norman.

“I guess my favorite thing about track would be being in the races. I really enjoy the competition, the nerve and stress. It’s actually a lot of fun for me,” Poonja said.

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