West High Track Sprints Its Way to Victory in Pioneer League Preliminary


Courtesy of Brooke Amano

Christine Nguyen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, April 22nd, the West High Warriors track team competed in a preliminary event on campus that started at 1 p.m. and ended at 6 p.m. Athletes competed in numerous events, like pole vault, discus, long jump, hurdles, 200-meter race, 800-meter race, 1600-meter race, and the 3200-meter race. Other high schools that participated in these events were Inglewood High, Morningside High, North High, Torrance High, and South High.

  Competitors were placed into heats, or separate races, of the same events. The top two of each heat automatically qualified into finals and the rest were chosen based on their fastest times. This process was repeated until a total of twelve athletes from each event were qualified for finals.

  Naoki Kasai (10), who qualified for both last year’s and this year’s final, said, “I would say the expectations I’ve had for both years were very different in the sense that last year, I didn’t really know what the standards were for ‘fast’ times. I just went through the season trying my best and that was it. However, this year, I wanted to hit 4:40 in the 1600 and 2:10 in the 800.”

  The track meet was also a factor in determining this year’s league school winner. West is currently in first place for both the girls’ varsity and freshman-sophomore teams. The freshman-sophomore boys’ team is tied for first place with Torrance and the varsity boys’ team is in second place, behind North.

  Stephen Hansen (10), who ran three distance events at the meet, said, “I’ll definitely try to focus more on planning my race, as well as making sure that I don’t burn out during practice runs. [As a team], we made sure that we all ran our best, made plans to pace each other during our races, and compared strategies.”

  The team success came after weeks of hard work and practices. Athletes practiced two main types of exercises called tempo runs and x-factor workouts. During tempo runs, they ran on the track at their set pace for a specific period of time (fourteen minutes). This training drill helped the athletes to explore different paces and how comfortable they are with each. X-factor workouts were similar, except the running distance is shorter but they did more repetitions at a faster pace.

  Running is not the only way that West High’s track team stays in shape. Konatsu Nagashima (10) shared how the track team maintained their physical health, remarking, “We made sure to stretch well the day before, as well as drink a lot of water and eat healthily.”

  With lots of training and personal, West High’s track team was able to do well throughout this meet and the Pioneer League Finals.