Track: While losing meets, individuals set their own PRs

April 9, 2022 — by Tara Natarajan and Shaan Sridhar
The team competed at the Stanford Invitational, a prestigious track event, last week.

Unable to continue the forward momentum of their first two meets against Santa Clara and Mountain View, the Falcons were defeated by Monta Vista High School and Cupertino High School on March 31 and 24, respectively. 

Last week, the Falcons had one of their biggest competitions of the season: the Stanford Invitational on April 1 and 2, a season highlight for track and field athletes. (Results were not available in time for the print edition.)


Athletes scheduled to compete at Stanford Invitational

During the Stanford Invitational, which has been held since 1975, hundreds of high school athletes compete from schools both within and outside California, with coaches from various colleges also present. 

The 4×400 meter relay team was one of the teams and athletes scheduled to compete. Senior runner Ayaaz Shah, a member of the relay team, said he was determined to make the most of the invitational after being disqualified in the March 31 meet. Though it is Shah’s first year on the track team, he said he was excited to go to the invitational because of the chance to meet with college athletes and coaches.


Monta Vista meet ends with close score

The Monta Vista meet on March 31 ended in a loss for the Falcons_. Despite Monta Vista being a far larger school, the Saratoga athletes performed well on individual levels, treating the meet as preparation for Stanford. 

Shah said he was content with his results, having taken part in the 200 meter sprint and long jump. He said he tried different events than those he typically competes in, mainly to preserve his energy and keep his muscles from tiring leading up to Stanford’s meet. 

Shah placed second in the long jump event, and placed fourth out of 12 runners in the 200 meters. Having been unable to run during his previous meet, Shah felt his performance was an improvement. He set a personal record in the long jump, and was satisfied with his placement in the sprint.

“It was my first time in the 200 meter because my coaches didn’t want me to run too much right before the bigger event at Stanford,” Shah said. “As a school, we did well considering how much smaller our track team is. We were leading until the last two events, and fought hard.”

Junior thrower Jalyn Harrigan also set a personal record during the meet, in the shot put event — the only event she participated in to conserve her energy and prevent injuries leading up to the larger Stanford invitational.

“I think I did well,” Harrigan said. “Everyone worked really hard and we kept up well with [Monta Vista].”


Loss against Cupertino High School

Though several standout athletes set personal records, the Falcons were mostly outmatched against Cupertino in their first home meet.

Senior runner Harrison Dance, a member of the relay team and the team’s fastest distance runner, was out and did not participate, a major absence for the team. Other members of the team were also unable to participate.

Notable performances included Harrigan in the women’s 4×400 meter relay, and junior runner Yuvraj Singh in the men’s 200 meter sprint, placing the Falcons at first and second place in their respective events.  

Harrigan competed in the 100-meter and 300-meter women’s hurdles and the 4×100 meter and 4×400 meter relay. She placed third and first in the respective hurdle events, and the Falcons placed first in both women’s relays. 

“I fell on the hundred meter hurdles, so I was pretty nervous going into the three hundred meter.” Harrigan said. “But I still got first place in that event.” 

Harrigan is unsure of whether she wants to run track in college, but always looks forward to meeting college coaches and athletes during larger meets, as well as competing with runners from a wide range of schools.

In contrast, Singh felt he had an “average” personal run at the Cupertino meet — he placed second in both the men’s 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, although he set a personal record of 22.95 seconds in the latter. Because of missing runners in the 4×400 meter relay, Singh said his relay team didn’t do as well as they had hoped. 

“I feel like the main thing I can improve on is my starts. I feel like they’re my main weakness. And if I were to fix them, I’d be so much better,” Singh said. “Apart from that, relay handoffs are always a difficult part. But I’m excited because of the college coaches — I think track will make it easier to get into college, maybe even run for a good school.”

Because Singh is seriously considering running track in college, he will begin the college recruiting process over the next few months. For the time being, however, he wants to make the most of the remainder of the track season, citing its competitiveness as one of the reasons he loves the sport.

Singh is optimistic about Saratoga’s performance at upcoming invitationals, with the team practicing and improving between meets. 

“I can definitely say that compared to a lot of schools, we’re like the underdogs, but I think our team is talented enough that can beat a lot of the bigger schools if we can just focus and execute what we need to do,” Singh said.

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