Track: Team looks to bounce back after rough season

March 28, 2014 — by Gwynevere Hunger and Nupur Maheshwari

“Optimistic.” It’s the first word that comes to coach Archie Ljepava’s mind when thinking toward the upcoming season of track.

“Optimistic.” It’s the first word that comes to coach Archie Ljepava’s mind when thinking toward the upcoming season of track.
After a disappointing 0-6 record last season, the track team faces significant changes this year, moving down from the De Anza League to the El Camino League.  In previous years, the school’s track team competed against some schools with close to 300 students on their team, making winning a huge challenge. 
After last year’s record, moving leagues has completely changed the team’s outlook. 
“I think changing leagues is going to be good for the team in terms of uplifting the team,” said Ljepava. “We’re going against schools more our size, so the depth of the team sizes up well.” 
Adding to the positive outlook are the many returning and new athletes on the team. One such athlete is senior high jumper Mady Fagan, who transferred to the school from Los Gatos for her senior year. 
Fagan transferred to Saratoga for her senior year from Los Gatos High School, and seems to be an extremely promising asset to the track team.
“Track has been my passion since middle school and high jump became my main event sophomore year,” Fagan said. High jump, especially, is my release. I need it to function normally.”
Last year Fagan was ranked top five in the country for high jump and top three in California. Needless to say, Fagan did extremely well in her time on the Los Gatos track team, receiving MVP in sophomore year and winning the Stanford invitational junior year. She hopes to continue doing her best this year as well.
“I definitely have high hopes for this season,” Fagan said. “My goal is currently 6’1” and I know I have a lot of work to do but I’m excited to do it with the team. I can't wait to start competing wearing red.”
Fagan is among the over 60 newcomers to track this year, many of whom are freshmen, making the overall age group very young. The coaches are therefore working on teaching the new athletes all the techniques in order to prepare them for their first meet coming up in three weeks.
Some freshmen who have stood out and caught the coaches’ eyes during tryouts include freshman distance runner Alice Bian, freshman thrower Tristan Bush and freshman distance runner Nick Sum.  
Returning stand out athletes include junior sprinter Laura Cummins, senior sprinter Travis Stokes, junior runner Steven Sum, junior jumper Puck De Roos and senior runners Ben Glasstone and Eric Ringsrud.
Track Coaches Ljepava, Michael Xialtry, Dan Ambrinco, Dan Casas, Peter Jordan, Kerri Slover are also changing up the way practices run this year this year to allow students to have more time to study and participate in other activities.  
To ensure that no practice time gets lost, the coaches are making sure that the track practices run faster by eliminating down time. The practices, which ran for three hours last year, now last less than two.
“Practices have been more efficient this year; either that or we’re running shorter workouts,” senior sprinter and jumper Clark Wang said.
In regards to his goals, Ljepava added, “We want to grow this season, have fun, and make sure kids enjoy their season and come back to support the team and school. We want to make this team a family, and I am very confident that we can.”
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