Maddy Berkson gives up her dream to compete with her team at state

Maddy Berkson gives up her dream to compete with her team at state

The Inspiration

Maddy Berkson gives up her dream to compete with her team at state

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The Millrose Games, 106 years in existence, claims worldwide prestige as one of the most historic indoor track and field events with legends such as Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Mary Decker on its resume.
 
Classical (Providence, R.I.) junior Maddy Berkson dreamed of simply participating in it. Every year, Berkson watches the Games on Flotrack and obsesses over the results for the mile. And then she finally received her chance to be there through an invitation to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, which is a qualifier for the Millrose Games. 
 
 
One major problem: The Prix conflicted with the Rhode Island Class A Championships.
 
For Berkson, there was no decision to be made.
 
“The team is really tight-knit. I wanted to be there for them,” Berkson said of her decision to skip the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
 
Berkson ran the 600-meter race (she won with a time of 1:33.3) and anchored the 4×400- to victory, helping the relay finish in 4:10.3. Classical finished second as a team overall, but Berkson’s greatest victory that day was the message she sent to her teammates.
 
They mattered most.
 
“She has a school that supports everything she does and teammates that look toward her for energy,” assistant coach Mike Green said. “For her teammates to see her commitment, I think that rubs off on everyone. It makes them want to try their best.” 
 
Considered one of the top prep runners in the state, Berkson serves as Classical’s distance ambassador. When she elected the class championship, her goal wasn’t to win a title just for herself, but help the team win overall.
 
“We don’t doubt that if Maddy had competed [in the Prix], she would have qualified. For her to be at the team championship, it speaks volumes as to where her loyalty is,” Green said. 
 
Two weeks later on Feb. 16 — the same day as the Millrose Games in New York City —Berkson again proved herself during the RIIL State Championships. 
 
Berkson became the first female prep runner in state history to sweep the 1,000-, 1,500- and 3,000-meters races. 
 
She also anchored the 4×400 relay. To win the team title, the relay had to finish first; second secured a championship share with La Salle. Before Berkson grabbed the baton, Classical’s relay was in third.
 
“If you need that person to try to win, there’s no better person than Maddy,” Green said. 
 
Berkson kicked down the home stretch, helping the relay to a second-place finish in 4:04.62. Classical tied for first overall. 
 
It was a success that might not have been had Berkson skipped the state meet if she had qualified and elected to run the mile at the Millrose Games. 
 
“She really wanted to do what was best for her team.” Green said. “She’s a good example of what sacrifice is.” 

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Maddy Berkson gives up her dream to compete with her team at state
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