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Adarsh Iyer runs the distance to MIT

Photo used with permission from Adarsh Iyer.
Senior Adarsh Iyer has committed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for cross country and track and field, continuing his running journey at their top-ranked Division III program.

Senior Adarsh Iyer has committed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for cross country and track and field, continuing his running journey at their top-ranked Division III program. Whether he is running around Lynbrook, in his neighborhood or near the Parker Ranch hills, Iyer has found his passion for long distance running and is excited to run at MIT. 

Iyer’s passion for running was sparked when he joined Miller Middle School’s cross country team in sixth grade.

“Running is of course very painful, but I find it absolutely rewarding whenever I set a new personal record or win a race,” Iyer said. “Over time, I’ve come to treat it as a sort of game against myself, and as my mentality and my times have improved, I’ve become even more enthusiastic about the sport.”

After realizing his potential, Iyer started to devote more and more of his time to running, finding time in the morning, after school or in the evenings to go for runs. As Iyer started to train more, he also learned to improve on the mental aspect of running. In the early part of his career, Iyer sometimes experienced thoughts that told him to slow down or stop running while he was racing. Improving the mental part of his race meant ignoring these negative thoughts and trying to clear his mind while he was running. 

“As Lynbrook students, we have a tendency to overthink things,” Iyer said. However, in distance running, it’s important to consciously clear the mind and simply execute a plan. Compounding negativity can spiral out of control, which is why I do all of my visualization and strategizing prior to the race.”

Many of Adarsh’s coaches started to notice his dedication to the sport, and were impressed with his ability to understand the sport so well at a young age.

“When you’re experiencing success at a sport, it’s easy to focus on yourself instead of your team, but what sets Adarsh apart from other athletes is his dedication to make his teammates better,” cross country coach Luca Signore said. “Not only did Adarsh lead by example by taking care of his body, sleeping and eating well and putting 110% into every workout, but he was also a vocal leader. When Adarsh spoke, his teammates would listen, which speaks to his maturity and ability to guide not only himself, but the team as a whole.”

During workout days, Iyer and his teammates run more than 10 miles, and practice can last for more than 3 hours. Iyer finds himself coming back home past 7 p.m. and starting his homework at around 8:30 p.m. Student athletes often have difficult times balancing their schoolwork with sports, but Iyer was able to manage both of these and get 9 hours of sleep each night.

“In hindsight, I realize that I was pretty busy the past few years with AP classes, research and sports,” Iyer said. “The reason I didn’t notice before was because I truly enjoyed everything I was doing. I think time management isn’t as big of a concern when you’re happy about everything you’re doing, because there’s nothing that you’re wasting time on.”

Iyer has had many great races in the past few years, but he is most proud of his race at the Stanford Invitational in 2023. Although it was not his personal best, he achieved an outstanding time of 9 minutes and 15 seconds in the 3200-meter race at the invitational.

“This was a race where I just went for it, so to speak,” Iyer said. “I felt like the entire first mile was too fast, but I simply kept racing and in the end I closed well with even splits and a twenty-second personal record. That sort of step change in personal records is almost unheard of at this level of running.”

As a captain of cross country and track and field, Iyer has also made a profound impact on his teammates, serving as a role model for them and encouraging them to push themselves at meets. 

“Usually for track and cross country, we have pasta feasts or team dinners before our meets,” sophomore Akash Anand said. “For invites, we don’t do that, and Adarsh handles all of that by himself. He organizes pasta feasts at his house or someone else’s house. He truly wants to make our team a big family.”

After competing in his freshman and sophomore year, Iyer decided he wanted to run in college at the start of his junior year, and began to reach out to colleges. He received multiple Division I offers, but decided that he wanted to pursue MIT instead. Although MIT could not guarantee admission to him, he believed MIT was a perfect fit for him, and was willing to take the chance. 

“I visited MIT in late September, and even though my visit only lasted two days, I knew I’d found a perfect fit,” Iyer said. “Everyone on the team was so supportive, kind, and genuinely passionate. One upperclassman discussed dynamics and control theory with me in the locker room; the class lectures I attended were outstanding. As an institution, MIT also prioritizes research, including my subfield of interest which is numerical and symbolic deep learning.”

While Iyer is sad to leave Lynbrook’s cross country and track and field program, he plans to come back to Lynbrook to visit in the years to come. Iyer is excited to open the next chapter of his career at MIT, and is looking forward to training with his new teammates. Since MIT has one of the top Division III distance running programs in the nation,  Iyer’s goal is to win a national championship with his team.

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About the Contributor
Vihaan Patel
Vihaan Patel, Staffer
(he/him) Vihaan is a sophomore and first-year staffer on The Epic. In his free time, he loves to breakdance, explore new places, and go biking. At Lynbrook, he participates in Track and Field and ASB.

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