The Palo Alto High School track and field team competed in a dual meet against Henry M. Gunn High School and lost in a hard-fought match. The team will now focus on getting as many athletes qualified for the Central Coast Sectionals (CCS).
“The goal for us is to place at CCS, so to do that, we want a lot of our athletes qualified to participate in that meet,” head coach Kelsey Feeley said.
Throughout the season, the track and field team has performed very well, with senior Eli Givens and junior Kent Slaney standing out from the rest of the team. Givens will be competing for his third straight CCS title, while Slaney has just broken under two minutes for the 800-meter race. According to junior Michel-Ange Siaba, the final regular season meets will be good tests before CCS.
“Our last few meets are all against very good teams,” Siaba said. “I think they will be an indicator of how we’ll actually do at CCS because all of the events will be packed with talent.”
For mid-distance runner and sophomore Aashai Avadhani, CCS has been a motivator for the team throughout the season.
“States is the ultimate goal for any athlete that competes at CCS, and the team has concentrated on the fact that we want to send as many athletes as possible,” Avadhani said.
Additionally, Siaba believes the team needs to make several adjustments in order to qualify for CCS.
“I’ve been impressed by our team’s performance all year long, but there are always changes needing to be made,” Siaba said. “The team has been working on our technique a lot, so when we get to the races that won’t be a problem.”
While technique may be a problem for some runners, the effort from the team hasn’t been an issue.
“I’ve really been impressed with our team morale because everyone is always so supportive and the injured players will still help out even though they can’t race,” Siaba said.
Additionally, the team’s impressive season is largely due to its consistent determination to win.
“The track and field team is really hungry to be the best in the league and that’s one of the reasons we have been good this year,” Avadhani said. “Talent along with drive and determination is what will take us a long way.”
At CCS, the team has set high expectations and believes that they are competitive enough to win.
“I know CCS will be a challenge for every competing athlete, but we know that we have a good team and have a set a high bar,” Siaba said.
The CCS championships will start May 21 at San Jose City College, where the qualified runners will vie for a spot in the CCS finals.
“No matter what happens, I know we will do very well at CCS,” Siaba said. “There is just too much talent on our squad right now.”