The track to success: A nearly undefeated season

By Priya Dixit and Noelle Hanson

From the sidelines, track might seem like an individual sport, with each athlete crossing the finish line in their respective events, independently of the team. However, although athletes do strive to achieve new personal records, their individual scores contribute to an overall team ranking. And more importantly, the athletes’ support for each other is what brings the team together to perform their best. It is this spirit of support and collaboration that fueled the Los Altos track team’s success this season.

At the De Anza League Championship, the varsity girls team won first place, finishing the season 6-0, and the varsity boys team won second place, ending with a 5-1 record. Although some key athletes suffered from injuries, keeping them out of competitions and training for most of the season, the passion and inclusivity within the team drove their continued success.

“What we are offering is a place where athletes come every single day wanting to work hard, wanting to compete,” Co-Head Coach Dave Barth said. “I think we saw that across all the different event groups, and that’s the piece I’m really proud of. Whether we’re talking about the distance team or the hurdlers and the throwers or the jumpers or the sprinters, everyone in those groups worked really hard.”

For the team, the overwhelming success across all events started right from the beginning of the season, with the team embarking on an undefeated streak across all events that, for the boys team, lasted until the League Championships, and for the girls team, is ongoing. Barth tried to spur this success with intense workouts and training early on in the season, which also served to cement the team’s dynamic.

The athletes also believe that this training technique has helped their performance and has contributed to the team’s success.

“The only change over the past few years has been a few new drills,” senior Rebecca Lim said. “The way the workouts are structured, they’re always super intense in the beginning and taper out toward the end. That’s kind of the typical track season workout.”

But aside from the physical and mental endurance the team has built up from the start of the season, another major aspect of the team’s success is the supportive and constructive environment that the track team creates.

“During workouts, a big part of working out with everyone is that you push each other, so you try and keep pace with each other, you try and push each other to run faster, run harder, to do even better,” Rebecca said. “During competition, everyone loves cheering everyone on.”

This phenomenon is also largely influenced by the support upperclassmen have for underclassmen.

“There definitely are an amazing group of freshman who have stepped up and they’ve worked really hard,” Barth said. “Our juniors and seniors have done a very good job of mentoring and accepting having freshmen on varsity and that’s really cool. There were people who mentored the current seniors when they were freshman and sophomores, so to have juniors and seniors willing to play that role is really awesome.”

“Whether you are a freshman or a senior, you both go through the same thing,” freshman Charlie Atkins said. “The varsity people have been really great about keeping my spirits up and likewise I like to do that for them. We like to push ourselves because we like to win. I think that really makes up such a great team.”

Despite their continued success, the team strives to avoid the pitfall of overconfidence, pushing themselves to always perform to the best of their ability.

“Our team is super accomplished, and it can get to people’s heads sometimes,” Rebecca said. “But our coach reminds us, even though we’re undefeated, we still have to go into the meet with the mindset that we have to compete hard.”

However, despite this mental hurdle, the track team forged onward to secure a successful season and a strong team dynamic. Barth is most proud of this dedication.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to show up every day and being a runner isn’t always fun,” Barth said. “It can be a drag sometimes to run track and field, and I think most of these people have turned it into a passion of theirs. I’ve got a lot of respect for them for that. How hardworking and passionate these people are is really where the success has come from this season.”