The Start of Something Special - Arianna Montgomery '26

Arianna Montgomery knows Usain Bolt’s world record time in the 200 meters without any help from Google (19.19 seconds). She’s memorized it because she looks up to him, along with four time Olympian Allyson Felix, but also because she seems to be using it as motivation.

In February, Montgomery, who’s entering eighth grade at Tatnall, put in a series of impressive performances at the prestigious Adidas Indoor Nationals meet at the Virginia Beach Sports Center. She finished 10th in her age group in the 200 meters, seventh in the 60 meters, and first in the long jump. In all three events, she recorded personal bests.

A couple weeks later, Montgomery, who turned 13 in June, won the long jump for her age group at the 2021 AAU Track and Field Indoor National Championship with a new meet record of 17 feet and five inches.

She’s been competing in track and field since she was six-years old, but it’s only recently that she’s begun to test the limits of her natural ability. “I’m practicing harder than I ever have,” Montgomery says. “When I was younger, I didn’t really want to push myself. I didn’t really want to practice. And when I did, I didn’t want to go all that hard, and I complained a lot. But now I enjoy it.”

Outside of competing with Tatnall’s Middle School track and field team, Montgomery also represented a track club in Delaware. But that changed with the pandemic. New restrictions didn’t allow athletes to travel to meets with teams. So Montgomery’s father, Derrell Montgomery, a former collegiate football player, started coaching her. 

They go to an outdoor track near their home, where he has her run intervals and do strength and agility exercises, like sled pulls and box jumps. Montgomery also has a coach who trains her specifically for the long jump. They’ve worked together for a number of years, she says. 

Before she began competing in track and field, Montgomery did gymnastics and played basketball and soccer. There aren’t stars at such a young age. Rather, some kids are just a little further along the learning curve than others. But it was hard not to notice how Montgomery was constantly outrunning everyone else on the soccer field.

Her parents eventually asked her if she wanted to try track and field. She took to it immediately. 

Montgomery continues to play soccer. She’s also on the Middle School girls’ volleyball team. But track and field occupies the majority of her attention. After competing for several years, she’s become friends with a lot of the other athletes she competes against at the regional and national meets, which helps with the nerves.

She says she may feel a tinge of nervousness before a final heat at one of the bigger meets, but otherwise, her nerves usually remain in check. 

At the track, Montgomery is her most confident self. Away from it, she’s a modest, softly-spoken girl who’s been deeply into math since she was introduced to her first equation. She enrolled at Tatnall for her sixth-grade year. She likes being challenged by the academics, but she appreciates the people who populate her school days most. From new friends to her teachers, “everyone,” she says, “has been very welcoming.”

Montgomery’s competed all over the country: Virginia, Texas, Michigan, and New York, among other spots. Because meets of this caliber tend to attract the most promising runners in the country, they’re where many first come to the attention of college coaches.

While Montgomery is a few years away from fielding scholarship offers, she’s already thinking about competing in college. Actually, her ambitions are much bigger than that; she sees herself someday running professionally. For the time being, though, she’s focused on the coming school year because, as an eighth grader, she’ll be eligible to compete with the Upper School track and field team. Before her time at Tatnall is over, Montgomery envisions herself breaking all the state sprint and long jump records.

The Tatnall School

The Tatnall School is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in PK3 through Grade 12 located in Wilmington, Delaware.