Track coaching change signals a season of adjustments 

March 19, 2024 — by Sunny Cao and Annika Gho
Photo by Bryan Zhao
Sophomore Vedant Padhi runs the 1600m during a home meet against Fremont High on March 7. 
The former longtime coaches are not involved with the team this year.. 

Head Coach: Andy Ligeti

Last year’s record: 1-5 (boys’ varsity) and 4-2 (girls’ varsity)

Recap: Even though the team’s performance was subpar last year, there were still many individual successes. Two seniors qualified for the CCS finals. 

Key Matchups: Mountain View and Wilcox 

Star Athletes: seniors Reagan Curtis (shot put), Paul Hulme (high jump), Annie Liu (hurdles), Jacob Merrill (1600m), Pranav Rajan (1600m) and Steven Sun (200m) and juniors Kitty Gechlik (200m) and Clara Zhao (100m)

Key losses to graduation: Isaac Loke (100m, 200m and 400m), Isha Goswami (200m and 400m), Jalyn Harrigan (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Mika Tippetts (discus and shot put), Yuvraj Singh (100m and 200m), Jason Cheng (200m and 400m) and Elizabeth Stoiber (1600m)

Division: El Camino


At their second meet of the season against Monta Vista on March 14, the varsity boys won the Matadors 52-70, and varsity girls lost 84-33. Both teams lost their first home meet against Fremont High on March 7: varsity boys lost 71-50, and varsity girls lost 76-40. As this was their only home meet of the season, the team also celebrated their senior night on that day. 

With sprints coach Rick Ellis stepping down, the team has had to adapt to the new sprints coach Andy Legeti, who also took over as head coach from previous coaches Archie Ljepava and Ian Tippetts. A previous history teacher at High Bluff Academy and a former cross country head coach at Calabasas High School, Ligeti has coached the sport for more than 40 years

However, Ligeti has mostly been a distance runner, which makes coaching sprints a new experience for him. This has led to many communication issues within the sprints team. For example, Ligeti doesn’t do endurance workouts nor block starts, a major change from what many sprinters do. 

Since former head coach and distance coach Ian Tippetts is training for the True Grit 100 mile mountain bike race and is less available this season, distance runners usually do an easy “on their own” run on Blue Days and speed workouts with Tippetts on Red Days. 

“Since [Coach Tippetts] isn’t here, it’s hard to maintain a good work ethic,” freshman distance runner Neha Sharan said. “Without him, it’s a little harder to progress as we would be doing, but we are still doing great.”

The team is facing a decreasing number of upperclassmen and also lost several star players to graduation. This year, the team is down to 10 seniors, and only about 30% of the team are upperclassmen. 

Despite this shortage of upperclassmen, there are several promising underclassmen who have picked up the baton: sophomore Jack Dong (1600m), sophomore Zachary Stanis (shot put), freshman Samarth Hangud (800m), freshman Debesh Das Sharma (1600m) and freshman Benjamin Zinman (high jump). 

With the addition of promising underclassmen and the team’s resilient spirit, many are hopeful they will be able to overcome the several challenges. 

 “The new coach’s coaching policy is a lot more hands off than coach Ellis’s was, but I think that I have great confidence in our sprint teams, and I think they will adjust nicely,” sophomore Kyle Li said. 

Tags: coach, track
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