When you’re as busy as Andover track star Delia Barbanti, it helps to be fast.
Fortunately Barbanti — a National Honor Society student with a passion for the piano — is not just one of the top sprinters in Massachusetts, she’s one of the fastest in Andover High’s storied track history.
Last spring, the Boston University-bound Barbanti set a new Andover school record in the 200-meter (24.85) and led the 4x100 relay that ran a school-record 48.01.
And she has been just as dominant this year as a senior.
In the winter, she won the Division 1 state title in the 300 (40.44). And so far in the young spring, she won the 100-meter (12.63) and ran on the winning 4x100 relay at the Haverhill Ottaviani Invitational and taken the 100 and 200 in Andover’s first two dual meets.
“Everything has been so exciting,” said Barbanti. “This is my last season of high school track, and I have a lot that I want to accomplish. I decided to give track a try two years ago just to do something. It’s been amazing and has become a passion. I’m excited to see how this season goes for myself and the team.”
FROM NEWCOMER TO STAR
Track stardom was never in Barbanti’s plans growing up. As a freshman, she played basketball in the winter and didn’t play a sport in the spring. Her running experience was limited to occasional recreational distance running.
But, in the winter of her sophomore year, she decided to go out for the powerhouse Andover girls track team
“I wanted to try something new,” said Barbanti. “My older sister (Julie Barbanti) ran track and a lot of my friends did too. It was a little overwhelming at first, learning how everything worked. But by the end of the season, I realized it could be something special.”
Delia’s breakout came at the Division 1 state meet as a sophomore, when she anchored the 4x400 relay that won gold in 4:04.20
“We didn’t run until about 10 p.m. and we were really cold and really nervous,” she said. “We were seeded first and I wanted to win so bad. After the first leg we were winning, and the lead got bigger and bigger. I got the baton and it was such an adrenaline rush. I ran as fast as I could, I finished and there was no one close to us. And we ran our PR (personal record) which was amazing.”
As a junior in indoor track, she led the 4x200 that won the New England title (1:43.47), the 4x400 that was second at New Englands (3:55.48) and the sprint medley relay that was runner-up in the Emerging Elite division at New Balance Nationals (4:09.73).
Then, in the outdoor season, she won the EMass. Division 1 title in the 200 in 24.85, breaking both the Andover High record (25.14) set by Eve Bishop in 2010 and the Eagle-Tribune area mark set by Methuen’s Wileshka Samuel (24.95).
“I had no idea I could run that fast,” Barbanti said. “I didn’t know if I could break the record, let alone break 25 seconds. I was so excited just to win the race, then a teammate ran over and told me what I had run, and I was in shock. It was really an honor.”
Barbanti capped last spring by leading the 4x100 to the All-State title in the record-setting 48.01 and the sprint medley relay to fourth in Emerging Elite at New Balance Nationals.
This winter she won the MVC (40.53) and Division 1 titles in the 300, led the 4x400 to the Division 1 title and the 4x200 to third at All-States.
Barbanti does it all while also starring in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, she has a 3.85 grade point average. She is currently enrolled in Advanced Placement environmental science and literature as well as statistics, humanities and global religions.
“I take academics very seriously,” she said. “I’m good at time management, so it’s not too overwhelming. But I know how important academics are.”
When track season and school are in full swing, it does sometimes cut into her time practicing the piano, which she has played for 10 years.
After graduation, Barbanti will be running track at BU. She is undecided on a major, but is considering law.
“Before this spring is over I would love to run a new PR in the 200 and improve my 100 time,” she said. “My times have been good so far. I would also love for the team to win another championship.”