- May 15, 2019
Windermere Prep junior runner Isabela Yumi Akabane had a hard time breaking 14 seconds in the 100-meter run when she first started competing as a runner. These days, Akabane’s best time is 13.6 seconds, and she aspires to break 13 seconds before the end of the season. Head track and field coach Devin Bennett said Akabane “is a phenomenal multi-sport athlete and our top female sprinter at WPS. Her personality, commitment and work ethic help to drive our girls’ team forward. Isabela also represents our residential student body well and serves as (a) role model to her teammates. The sky’s the limit for Isabela!”
Talk to us about your years as a track runner?
I started out sophomore year, because I tried doing soccer instead of weights — I was between the both of them — (and) the coach talked to me about track, because I was fast. I thought maybe it wasn’t a bad idea, so I started doing track, and I loved it.
What do you love most about track as a sport?
I really love all the friends that I’ve made there, and I love to get excited to really see my improvement. … You are racing yourself (in track) and trying to just be the best version of yourself.
What has track and field taught you not only on the track but also off it?
Track was the first sport I fell deeply involved in here. I came as an international student from Brazil, and I didn’t really get involved in any sports in Brazil, because it’s not a thing. So, it kind of taught me the values of being an athlete and how important it actually is to have (a sport) be a part of your life.
How do you believe you instill leadership in your team?
I would say that having a leadership position this year specifically it’s something I have to do much more because we have a lot of underclassmen. … So it’s really important to always encourage them and teach them … and always try to motivate them so they feel confident.
What do you love most about your track team?
I really like our coaches and the people. That’s what makes this place unique — the special relationship we have with all the staff.
What would you like to study in college?
Economics or finance.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love working out, doing weights. We have a garage gym at the boarding community, and I love to go there. I have also been offered from the boarding staff to get community service hours to teach the girls who want to work out how to work out. I like to hang out with my friends, too … and not lose my time doing things by myself.
What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island?
Food, water and another person, so I wouldn’t be alone.
What’s your favorite movie?
I love Brad Pitt movies, because I love Brad Pitt. So, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — I loved that one for a long time. I also really like Quentin Tarantino, and he directed that movie.
What is your favorite music?
Sertanejo — (originally from the countrysides of Brazil).
Who is your favorite superhero?
My grandfather (Hirochi Akabane), he’s my superhero. He’s the one (who) always pushed me to be the best version of myself. He’s always been my best friend and has been there for me. When I was born and they were going to decide my name, he knew that my father wasn’t going to be there, so he wanted me to have his last name (my mother’s last name). He didn’t have to, but he took on a parental role for me since I was very little, and he is the one who sent me here. He said, ‘If you want to, I want you to follow your dreams. I want to raise you to be a part of the world and not just for myself.’ He’s really smart.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
To fly, so I could see the world.
If you could go back in time, to when would you go and why?
I would like to go back to when I was 6 years old, because that’s when I used to live with my grandparents.
What color would you say represents your personality?
Orange, I feel like that one is really my spirit color.
If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be and why?
I said I wanted to fly so, a bird, not a small one — an intimidating one — like a hawk.