Track members compete in league meet; many get PRs

May 10, 2018 — by Anna Novoselov

Athletes bonded as a team over the season and improved their individual abilities

The track team erupted in cheers as senior sprinter Jaijit Singh grabbed a baton from senior Keon Roohparvar during  the 4×400 meter relay race of the El Camino League finals meet on May 2 at Homestead High. The team, which consists of Singh, Roohparvar, sophomore Alex Taylor and freshman Tyler Chaffin, was in third place with Singh, their anchor leg, approximately 50 meters behind the first place runner from Homestead.

Mouths opened wide as Singh passed the second place Monta Vista runner. With only 100 meters remaining in the race, he pushed ahead of the first place runner and secured the win for his team.

“All of them worked extremely hard to get to a position in the race where I could make a move and take the lead,” Singh said. “I couldn't have done it with any other team than the one I had.”

Head coach Archie Ljepava said that the 4×400 varsity boys team has a lot of potential and that that “they’re not done yet.” The team will compete in the SCVAL meet at on May 11 at Santa Clara High and possibly move on to CCS at Gilroy High.

Considering the results of the league final meet and the duel meets, out of seven schools — Cupertino, Fremont, Homestead, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Monta Vista and Wilcox — Saratoga varsity boys paced fifth, varsity girls placed sixth, frosh-soph boys placed sixth and JV girls places third.

Although track mainly focuses on individual events, distance coach Ian Tippetts said he noticed the team bonding throughout the season and becoming a group.

“The commitment to each other and to the team culminated in that 4×4,” Tippetts said. “Everybody was cheering and really excited for that race. And I think the entire meet felt that way.”

After the league trials meet on April 26, the top eight in each sprinting event advanced to finals. Distance events (800 meters, 1600 meters, 3200 meters), jumps and throws were only held one of the two days.

Tippetts said that he thinks a lot of schools were surprised by how well Saratoga did because Saratoga’s small team has many athletes doing three or four different events at every meet, rather than just focusing on one or two.

Singh placed third in the 200 meter sprint with 22.48 and first in 400 meters with 50.10.

Senior Amit Nag placed third in the 3200 meter with 10:11:35 and fifth in the 1600 with 4:33:34 while sophomore Julia Hoffman fourth in the 3200 meters with 12:00:62 and fourth in the 1600 meter with 5:19:76.

Senior Alex Metz placed fourth in triple jump with 39”7.5’, senior Paige Hansen placed first in discus with 123”2’ and senior Chloe Mcghee placed fourth in 300 meter hurdles with 47:99.

In addition to having 89 PRs at the home meet against Santa Clara on April 26, the team had 49 new PRs (personal records) at league trials and finals.

Ljepava said that the team was able to succeed due to the members’ increased confidence and trust in the coaches.

“The team improved on their ability to compete with some of the best sprinters and runners in CCS,” Ljepava said.

The top 16 runners from the El Camino and De Anza Leagues from of a total of 15 schools will advance to the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) meet on May 9. 12 varsity Falcon athletes qualified in 16 events between boys and girls. (Results of this meet were unavailable for the print edition of The Falcon because of printing deadlines.). The top six in each event at the SCVAL meet will then advance to CCS trials.

Tippetts said that he is proud of the team’s efforts throughout the season and respects them as people as well as athletes.

“I think the biggest difference from the beginning and end [of the season] is the feeling of family and commitment,” Tippetts said, “and not because the coaches did it, but because people really wanted to do well for their teammates and themselves.”