Young track star: Dance making large strides

April 3, 2019 — by Neeti Badve and Nitya Marimuthu

As the starter’s gun went off, freshman Harrison Dance pushed into the leading pack of runners. It was a bright, sunny Saturday and Dance was running the 1600 meter varsity race at an invitational race on March 16 at Saint Francis High School.

As the second lap finished, Dance pushed into the front of the pack of 12 other runners, slowly taking the lead. Dance continued to lead through the third lap and ended up second in a competitive race. He was the only freshman to compete in the varsity-level race.  

“He’s a kid who loves running and you don’t get that often,”

junior captain Kole Tippets said of his teammate.

Despite this being his first year in track, Dance has already achieved a 4:38:96 mile time — a feat completed during the meet against Monta Vista High School on March 21 — and a 10:26:58 2-mile time during the meet against Cupertino High on March 28.

After the April 2 meet at Homestead, the team had competed in all of its League meets (The Falcon could not cover this meet due to printing deadlines). The record for varsity boys in their first five meets was 2-3, while the record for varsity girls was 1- 4.

A key contributor to the boys’ success has been Dance, but surprisingly, his main sport growing up was soccer. He discovered a love for running long distance during middle school and has been unstoppable since. He was a top runner on the cross country team during the fall and is now running the 1600 and the 3200 meter events in track.

After discovered his talent for running, Dance decided to quit playing soccer and focus on running full time.

“I enjoy the sport because whatever you put in, you get out of it in races and I like that component,” Dance said.

Like most runners, Dance can find himself pushing himself too far. During CCS last fall, Dance was out sick and during Leagues as he was burned out due to the extra miles he always seems to run, Tippetts said.

Training for track in the spring consists of six practices per week, each lasting around two hours. Out of those days, one day is usually a meet, two are strictly training days and the rest are recovery days.

Over the weekend and during breaks, the athletes run miles on their own to maintain and improve their performances. This is especially vital in the breaks in between cross country and track season.

Tippetts said that much of Dance’s improvement comes from his motivation to run on his own. Since Dance finds so much joy from running, he constantly runs on his own and pushes himself.

During the race season, however, this very dedication and love for his sport tends to hurt Dance more than it benefits him.

“It’s really hard to get someone to stop doing something that they like a lot, but once we get into race season, you can’t run as much,” said Tippetts.

For this reason, Dance aims to decrease his running during track season in order to prevent overworking.

His motivation has paid off greatly and he continues to improve every meet. Dance said he was proud of his first meet this season, but he believes he could do better and has set goals to improve. By the end of the season, Dance hopes to break a 10:05 2-mile time.

Dance also has high hopes for continuing the sport at the next level, with his eyes on running track for colleges such as University of Oregon or University of Colorado. He also hopes to set some school records along the way.

“Hopefully, by the end of high school, I’ll be on the board down there [track records],” he said. “But those are pretty lofty goals. We’ll just have to see.”

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