Despite the loss of several key athletes to the 2017 senior graduation, the Palo Alto High School track and field team is looking forward to a strong season and meeting its competitive goals this year.
After finishing 6-0 in dual meets last year, the boys’ track and field team looks to continue its dominance this year with a number of new faces. The girl’s’ track will look to do the same, coming off a 4-2 season, with many strong returning athletes, according to senior captain Adee Newman.
“The girls team is trying to break the 4×400 record that we broke last year and also make it to state finals,” Newman said. “We only lost a handful of senior girls so nothing much has really changed for the team as a whole.”
According to Head Coach Michael Davidson, the team is anticipating several successes in major events and eager to accomplish numerous goals for individual runners.
“Our goals this season are to win league, have a strong showing in [Central Coast Sectionals], and focus on trying to get as many kids as we can to qualify for the state meet on June 1,” Davidson said. “For our seniors, we want them to have a strong season to finish their high school career.”
Last year, both the boys’ and the girls’ track and field team had many strong seniors that helped them go a combined 10-2 in dual meets. Seniors Michel-Ange Siaba, Thorin Haussecker, Kai Oda, Kent Slaney, Naveen Pai, Sherwin Amsbaugh, and Titilola Bolarinwa were the key contributors to their outstanding year and set high standards for the team this year, according to senior captain Adee Newman.
“The sprinters this season lost Titi Bolarinwa, who was a key runner in the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay,” Newman explained. ” As a result, it has led us to train harder, not only because we lost her, but because coaches are amping up the intensity of the workouts.”
Although the loss of many seniors will provide as a large obstacle, returning members look to fill in their shoes and new members strive to make an immediate impact on the teams according to Davidson.
“We have a very talented team this season; we have a lot of younger performers and some very seasoned athletes poised to hit some strong [personal bests],” Davidson said. “All of us as coaches are excited to see how the kids will do.”
According to Newman, many promising possibilities are in store for the girls’ team this season.
“The coaches believe that specific girl athletes can work to break school records that have been around a long time.”
Additionally, the Vikings will continue to train effectively with coaches during practice to maximize success, according to senior captain Tyler Marik.
“This will be the second year for new coaches and [the team] worked with them on and off season,” Marik said. “Everybody is getting a lot faster, training a lot harder, and we are trying to win CCS.”
Returning seniors Maya Reuven, Karen Li, Julia Doubson, and Adee Newman will look to lead the team to success while junior Emma Johnson and sophomores Miranda Jimenez and Ella Ball look to make big contributions as well.
The first meet of the season will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday against Mountain View at home.