Track: Though promising, young team has room for growth

March 30, 2017 — by Caitlin Ju and Ami Nachiappan

At the home meet against Monta Vista on March 16, both junior sprinter Jaijit Singh and senior sprinter Celine Bellegarda came in first in the boys’ and girls’ 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash.

With wins by the boys’ varsity, boys’ JV and girls’ JV, the Falcons beat the Matadors, a much different story from their earlier home loss to Wilcox on March 9.

Against Monta Vista, freshman distance runner Julia Hoffman and junior distance runner Amit Nag both won the 1600-meter race. Also taking home wins were senior thrower Tristan Bush and junior thrower Paige Hansen. Both secured victories in the shot put and discus events.

Although the members of the boys’ distance team are considered among the strongest athletes on the team, the boys’ sprints have also claimed key wins. The Falcon boys’ 4x100 meter dash, which consists of Singh, junior Will Turpin, sophomore Dylan Madani and freshman Jinghao Wang beat Monta Vista by 1.16 seconds.

According to Madani, the boys’ 4x100 meter relay team has a shot at breaking the school record in the event. As a second-year veteran now running varsity in hurdling and sprinting, Madani is slowly getting used to the fast pace of hurdling, perfecting his sprinting form and improving his technique.

“Now that I’m pulled up to varsity, I’m running with much faster people which pushes me harder,” Madani said. “Once I get my form down, I understand hurdling better and get used to the fact that though I can potentially fall, I try my best not to.”

Because the team is so young, with the majority  underclassmen, there is room for growth and potential for the young athletes. As a result, experienced upperclassmen, such as Bellegarda, are taking the lead in pushing athletes to perform at their best.

So far the strength of the team comes from the boys’ and girls’ distance teams,  who contribute to a majority of the team’s overall score. Promising freshmen such as Hoffman, who is currently leading the girls’ distance team, have consistently won their respective events. Because Hoffman has placed first in both her events in early-season meets, distance coach Ian Tippetts has her practicing with the boys’ distance team, which forces her to do more strenuous and longer workouts.

“Coach Tippetts is definitely pushing me harder during practices,” Hoffman said. “Since I’m practicing with the guys, it’s nice that they’re all very welcoming.”

New to the high school track experience, Hoffman looks to improve for the remainder of the season while getting to know the rest of the athletes on the team better.

“What I like most about high school sports is the social aspect,” Hoffman said. “Being a freshman this year, it’s nice to see more familiar faces in the hallways.”

While the Falcons still have room for growth, Madani points to the team’s accomplishments so far are just a glimpse of what is to come in future meets.

“Even though our first track meet was a bit rattling, I definitely think we’re shaping into a more well-rounded team,” Madani said.

The Falcon was unable to obtain final scores for the first two meets.