The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The Hidden Opponent raises mental health awareness at rivalry track meet

Milan Grbovic
Senior Sami Patel runs alongside Mountain View runners at a dual meet. While wearing green accents, runners mental health awareness at the meet with the help of The Hidden Opponent.

The Los Altos High School track and field team competed in a rivalry meet against Mountain View High School for the first time since 2019 on Thursday, March 28. The meet — which included an event hosted by The Hidden Opponent (THO), an athlete mental health advocacy club — ended in a win for the boys with a score of 64–58, and a loss for the girls with a score of 53–73.

Despite the rivalry, THO club leaders from LAHS and MVHS, known as Campus Captains, brought together athletes from both schools to raise mental health awareness. 

“It’s really exciting because it’s our first big event that we’re doing as a campus club and as a chapter,” LAHS Campus Captain senior Sam Stein said. “And with Mountain View being a rival school, it’s cool to see the bridge being crossed.”

The event started with a speech introducing THO as an organization, given by LAHS Campus Captains junior Tyra Bogan and senior Maddy Randall, MVHS sophomore Annie Riordan and LAHS senior Macy Watson. Throughout the meet, THO also distributed bracelets, stickers, green ribbons and brochures with mental health resources for athletes. Many athletes also decorated their hair and outfits with green accents to represent THO and its mission.

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With personal times to beat, team pressures and performance anxiety creating stress for many athletes, THO members believe mental health is increasingly more important to discuss. 

“Bringing awareness to mental health is a really important topic right now, especially as pressures get high,” Tyra said. 

Although THO has been established at LAHS since April of 2023, at MVHS, it is a fairly new club, being established in January of 2024. This was the first time that the two chapters hosted an event together, helping them reach a larger audience. 

“It was really nice to have twice as many hands, especially for something as big as planning a track meet,” Maddy said. 

As both THO presidents Maddy and Sam are seniors, the club wanted to host an event before the end of this school year to gain momentum for future events in years to come. 

“It’s nice to see that the next classes and generations are thinking about this and that it’s not going to die out after we graduate,” Sam said.

While this meet was the first mental health awareness event that THO has hosted, the Campus Captains explained that it certainly won’t be their last. THO is planning more awareness events in the following years, including similar events throughout each season and contributing to Mountain View’s unity walk. 

After celebrating their senior night on Tuesday, April 2 against Homestead High School, qualifying varsity athletes will compete at the Arcadia Invitational on Friday, April 5. The team’s next league meet is on Wednesday, April 17 at Palo Alto High School.

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Milan Grbovic, Staff Writer

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