Girls’ Track: Nguyen hopes to leap to the state meet

April 30, 2010 — by Aanchal Mohan and Denise Lin

When most people think of track and field, they tend to ignore the “field” part and simply concentrate on the runners and sprinters. And, of course, the sprinters, such as freshman Melodie Bellegarda and senior Sarah Guy, to name a few, do their share for the team, but they are not the only ones.

Take, for instance, standout jumper sophomore Ailene Nguyen. Nguyen, who has been jumping since sixth grade, started track as one of the few female jumpers ever from Saratoga High to be qualified to attend the state meet last year. She is currently ranked 23rd in the long jump and 25th in the triple jump statewide.

“I actually started off as a sprinter and only changed to jumping because I thought it looked cooler,” said Nguyen. “I definitely did not think that I would end up being ranked statewide.”

Nguyen, who has a chance of going to state this year if she finishes in the top 3 at CCS, is hoping to beat her toughest competitor, senior Sunny Margerum of Gunn High School, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the state at the CCS meet.

“Archie [Our coach] has been working with me on my technique and speed a lot in practice,” said Nguyen. “Hopefully this will help give me an advantage over Margerum even though [she] has a height advantage over me.”

While most jumpers are at least 5-7 or taller, Nguyen is 5-4, but she is not letting her lack of height hold her back. Along with beating [Margerum], Nguyen hopes to be able to beat her personal record of 17 feet, 10 inches in the long jump and 36 feet, eight inches in the triple jump.

Along with jumping Nguyen will also be competing in the 100 meter race and in the four-by-four relay team along with fellow teammates Guy and Danielle Conway and junior Shea Sullivan.

Guy, who is competing in the 4-by-1 relay, the 400, the 200, and the 4-by-4 relay, placed first in all of her events against Santa Clara on April 8.

The fact that the Falcons have been performing so well is impressive, especially given that several athletes such as Belgarda and Conway have been injured this season.

“It’s been hard because people get injured,” said Guy. “Even I’ve had to miss a few meets.”
Still, sprinters such as Guy have been doing well under the coaching of Michael Xiatry.

“You know you have to work hard when you go to practice,” said Guy.

Selected athletes will be put to the test at Leagues beginning on May 3 and if they qualify they will continue on to the league finals on May 5. CCS will take place later in May.