Joining the stars on the board: track and field athletes aspire to break records

February 10, 2017 — by Victor Liu and Elaine Sun

The letters behind the scratched screen of Benny Price Field’s maroon record board were last added to in 2015 when alumna Puck de Roos scored a record 3,362 points in the heptathlon.

The board boasts records that date as far back as 1971, proving that these decade-old records are difficult to break.

One of the record holders on the board is 2012 graduate Ailene Nguyen, who is acting as an assistant coach this year Nguyen holds the school record in the long jump at 18 feet, 4 inches.

“Hopefully together [head coach Archie Ljepava and I] can motivate the team through workouts and excitement to get them through and get them in shape now, so that when meet season comes they’ll be ready to compete and have fun,” Nguyen said.

Although it’s a novelty to have their names up on the board by senior year, many athletes do not devote themselves to breaking those records. Rather, the board’s numbers are simply figures to work toward, and getting onto the board is more of an ultimate prize for improving.  

“I think it just kind of happened,” Nguyen said of her own record. “I had been working towards a personal record for some time, and I didn’t know that it was going to be a record setting jump for the school. I was just excited overall when I jumped it that I had broken my own personal record, and breaking it for the school was just another plus.”

In their journey to break the board’s records, athletes first seek to improve their own personal bests, or as junior long distance runner Amit Nag puts it, “you need to shave off a few seconds here and there.”

“It’s not necessarily my goal to break these records. It’s more of a milestone for me to reach,” junior sprinter Jaijit Singh said. “[Trying to break records is] a stepping stone to faster times, and it’s just a goal that I have in mind. My goal for running this year is winning CCS.”

Of course, improving and breaking the board’s seemingly unsurpassable records is easier said than done. In preparation for this school year’s track and field season, record-hopeful athletes have been maintaining a rigorous schedule of conditioning and have become more cognizant of what they consume.

This year, Singh has been eating healthier, running more, lifting weights and staying in shape, while he felt sick throughout most of the season last year, unable to “reach the milestones that [he] wanted to.”

Whatever an athlete’s individual goal may be, the board still stands in the dirt patch next to the track, waiting patiently for  current Saratoga athletes to add their own names onto it in the future.

“When I’m running the mile or the two-mile during a home meet, I always see that board when I start and finish race,”  Nag said. “I know that I probably can’t beat those times, but it’s nice to know that I’ll be on that board too if I do it.”


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