Girls’ track and field succumbs to Los Altos, 84-38, in season opener

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author


The Palo Alto High School girls’ track and field team (0-1) is looking to fill holes in its field events after falling to Los Altos High School, 38-84, in its first Santa Clara Valley Athletic League meet of the year on Thursday evening.

The meet started with a close race in the 4×100 meter relay, with the Vikings losing by a small margin even after a late kick by junior sprinter Torie Nielsen.

“Our hand-offs definitely need more work, especially this early in the season,” Nielson said. “I definitely think we could have won if our hand-offs were cleaner — we only lost by 0.3 seconds.”

Senior distance runner Susan Heinselman delivered the day’s standout performance by finishing first in the 1600-meter race, clocking in at 5:35. She lead by a large margin throughout the entire race.

“I wasn’t looking back; I don’t ever look back while I race,” Heinselman said. “I just always assume there is someone behind me — especially if I am in the front — because it makes it seem like I’m being chased, and if I can hear them I can just go faster.”

The Vikings lost a considerable amount of points due to a lack of athletes participating in the jump and throwing events. Without these crucial points, the Vikings had little chance to make up ground in the overall scoring.

“We got some work to do as always,” head coach Jason Fung said. “We need to definitely fill our field events a little more and show a little more power there. We don’t have any more throwers right now either.”

The Vikings finally were able to salvage some points in the final event, the 3200-meter race. Junior Anne Hildebrandt finished third in the event.

“The last lap was really windy,” Hildebrandt said. “But, it [the race] was really good. We had really good competition and that made us run better.”

Despite the loss, the coaches were able to find some positive performances during the meet.

“Susan [Heinselman] ran extremely well in the mile as did [junior] Nora [Rosati] and [sophomore] Shaheen [Essabhoy],” distance coach Paul Jones said. “In the two mile, [junior] Jessica [May] and Anne Hildebrandt ran really well.”

“The girl’s 4×100 (meter race) ran well,” Fung said. “We didn’t win, but we ran a good race.”

Fung emphasized that the Vikings will need to fill their holes by finding participants in the field events in order to compete with other schools.

“For the most part, though there are things we need to work on, the girls just need to fill the holes in the field events,” Fung said.

Paly’s next meet will be against Mountain View at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, at Mountain View High School.