Methacton senior Andrew Bregman considered quitting track a few weeks into his first official season in seventh grade.
His parents, Donna and Steve, told him to wait. Wait until the competitions start.
Throughout the last six years, Bregman, who was hoping to cement himself as one of the top hurdlers in the state before the COVID-19 pandemic ended his senior year, has been thankful for their preaching of patience.
“That validation after winning and setting new goals for yourself, that is definitely the most fulfilling part of the sport,” Bregman said.
Bregman said he can remember first running around the track as early as 8 years old. His sister Jenny was also a hurdler during her time period with the Warriors and he followed in her footsteps rather than older brother Austin, who shone on the baseball diamond at Methacton.
Basketball was his second sport until sophomore year in 2018 when he ran in a freshman-sophomore track meet on the day after prom. Then Warriors head coach Chris Schaffer put Bregman in the 300 hurdles for the first time. On four hours of sleep, Bregman won the meet and qualified for the Pioneer Athletic Conference championships, where he finished 11th.
He decided to stop playing basketball and put all his efforts into becoming a success in the hurdles the following school year.
“It was my first time running the hurdles,” Bregman said, “and I was like, “You know what. I’ve got a shot in this.’ I decided I was going to do winter track the following season instead of basketball.”
Bregman ran the 300 hurdles again as a junior in 2019, but he said he found his ‘niche’ in the 110 hurdles, which Methacton coach Joe Catania noted suits him better because of his speed.
In his first year running the event, Bregman finished fourth in the Pioneer Athletic Conference behind Owen J. Roberts’ Scott Honicker, Norristown’s Ramir Wiggins and Perkiomen Valley’s Cole Peterlin. He said running against the group of PAC standouts pushed him to get better.
His time of 15.10 seconds at the PAC championships qualified Bregman for districts for the first time. He ended his junior season in 2019 with a 22nd place finish at the District 1-3A championships.
Bregman added that along with help with technique from his coaches and watching other standouts in the event compete — whether it be in person or on YouTube —the biggest key to quickly becoming successful in the hurdles was watching himself.
His parents videotaped his meets so he was able to rewatch them, while he was able to have one of his teammates or coaches videotape him in practice.
“I’d say the biggest thing that help me progress so quickly is figuring out how I learn the best. I’m a visual learner,” Bregman said. “Every single meet that I ran, I would have it videotaped. I would go back and I’d watch and I’d say, ‘Ok that’s what I did wrong. That’s what I did right.’ At practices, I would have other kids or coaches record me going over hurdles. I would learn that way. … It was pretty easy when I saw those mistakes to adjust them physically going over the hurdles. That’s what helped me the most I would say.”
This winter, Bregman ran the 60-meter hurdles at the Pa. Indoor Track & Field Championships at Penn State University. He came into the race seeded 23rd out of 24 runners and was the last runner to qualify for the semifinals before setting personal records in the semis and the finals to finish with the sixth-fastest time in the state.
“I was going in just to do my best,” Bregman said. “My mindset every time I step on the track, no matter what anybody’s seed time is or who I’m running against it’s, ‘Hey I’m going to beat these all these guys.’ Even if it’s not realistic, I convince myself that it is and then I run my hardest. It paid off that day.”
Catania said Bregman’s best always seems to come out in the biggest moments.
“He always ran his better time in the final,” Catania said. “He didn’t always run his best in the semis in a lot of meets, but then when he knew that he was in position, in the hunt to win, his competitive prowess came out and he always ran a better time in the final.”
The indoor state championships took place the Sunday after the District 1-6A boys basketball championship, in which Methacton won the first district title in school history.
Bregman was in the stands cheering on his former teammates and kids he grew up playing hoops with before taking a four-hour drive up to State College and achieving a pinnacle of his own the next day.
“Watching them succeed and then having my success with only hurdling for one year … I’m happy with my decision,” Bregman said.
The sixth-place finish at states ended up being the highest peak of Bregman’s track career after the COVID-19 pandemic kept him from trying to win the PAC, qualify for states and trying to break the school record of 14.71 in the 110 hurdles in 2020.
Bregman said he had college interest from schools at the Division I, II and III levels but he’s always wanted to go to a big school and his marks on the track last season didn’t quite reach that level.
Instead, he’ll head to the University of Alabama to study business, satisfied with what he was able to accomplish in his time with the Warriors.
His coach said there’s not much more he could have done.
“He did everything we could expect in that short period of time and even more so,” Catania said. “It’s not everyday that you’re going to get someone to improve that much in that short period of time to the point where you’re aspiring to be one of the top five or six in the state.”
“He worked every hard every day like you’re supposed to as an aspiring championship-caliber athlete,” he added. “All that hard work paid off.”