Track and Field heads into fierce competition before PALs

 Junior Rita Ventura sprints toward the finish at a meet against Menlo-Atherton.

Junior Rita Ventura sprints toward the finish at a meet against Menlo-Atherton.

Due to moving up a division this year, the Panthers have been facing much tougher competition. After meets against Sequoia, Menlo-Atherton and Aragon, both the boys’ and girls’ track teams are 0-3.

“Our team is a lot smaller this year and a lot of the faster varsity athletes from the previous years have graduated,” junior Kaili Shan said. “I believe we will still do well this season but not as well as previous years. We do have many promising freshmen on the team though.”

Despite these initial losses this season, the challenge to compete at a higher level motivates the team.

“I am most excited for the new competition this season,” Shan said. “This year, our team moved up from the Ocean division to the Bay division, which is the most competitive one. We’ve never directly competed against these teams in dual meets and it’s nice to have a change.”

To face the tougher competition, high jump coach Michelle Darbonne is focused on preparing the athletes through consistency, hard work, and encouragement.

“We are stressing positive attitudes, dedication to getting better, and having fun at the same time,” Darbonne said.

A typical week for the sprinters consists of an endurance workout on Monday, speed work on Tuesday, and relay and starting block practice on Wednesday. Meets are on Thursday and Friday is a recovery day. To top off the running workouts, they do strength training at the end of each practice.

“The only way to prepare for meets is to make sure that you give everything you have in practice,” senior Jamie Carey said. “Our workouts can be really rigorous, but they do a great job at preparing us physically and mentally for meets because we work on both speed training and endurance training.”

In the meantime, the athletes have each set personal goals for themselves to prepare for the meets.

“I would really like to break my record for high jump and have our 4 by 100 relay team do well in PALs,” senior Antonio Verrico said.

“I am hoping to run the 800 meters in CCS and break 2:30 by the end of the season,” junior Julia Rajkovic said.

“I hope to break my personal records from last season, and return to the CCS Championships,” Carey said.

“I hope to be a good role model for my teammates, especially those who joined this year,” Shan said. “I keep a positive attitude throughout practice and meets and make sure that everyone feels welcome on the team.”

Teammates enjoy spending time with coaches and friends on the team and seeing their peers improve. The coaches agree that the team is strong due to the positive spirit.

“They work hard to be competitors, but they also like having fun and cheering each other on,” Darbonne said.

Posted on April 21, 2017 .