On a Friday late afternoon, the track team wraps up their practice. Some athletes relax on the warm turf field. In the distance, a group of pole vaulters complete their last jumps. At the top of the bleachers, the athletes help themselves to generous servings of pasta. It’s a bittersweet moment, the last track practice of the regular season. For the rest of the season, the team will prepare for league championships and beyond, pole-vaulter junior Grace Charron said.
On May 13, varsity athletes who scored high enough in time trials participated in the final competition in their league, the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) varsity finals, said track coach Jeanine Holmlund, more commonly known as Coach B.
Piedmont boys team placed third and the girls team placed fourth out of twelve teams. Altogether, Piedmont athletes achieved 41 personal records (PRs) across 89 events, said Holmlund.
“Many [athletes] exhibited their new skills or honed skills through consistent practice,” Holmlund said in a team email addressing the meet. “The lesson learned is hard work pays off, and a dose of good luck never hurts the mix as far as how our athletes place against the other teams.”
At WACC, Piedmont won the title of All-League Champion in five events. Skyelar Connelly won the boys pole vault with an 11’6’’ jump. Charron also won the girl’s title with a 9’6’’ jump. To top it off, Junior Reece Proctor won first place in the 800 meter, the 1600 meter, and the 3200 meter.
Results from each of the meet events are posted on the AdkinsTrak West website.
Then, during the NCS Championship meet on Saturday, varsity members competed in NCS and may advance to the Meet of Champions (MOC).
MOC, which will take place on May 26 and 27, includes teams from half of California, said Holmlund.
From MOC, athletes advance to California Interscholastic Federation Championships. In Holmlund’s four years as track coach, no Piedmont athlete has qualified for state championships, she said.
Senior Kayla Lim hopes to qualify for the Meet of Champions for her third year in a row.
“I kind of know what I have to run to get into meet of champions, and I’m not as close as I was last year,” Lim said. “I’m seeing how the competition is going to be and see if it’s going to work out this year.”
The current season featured many different accomplishments by the track team, said Holmlund.
Senior Cade Becker said he attempted the decathlon for the first time as a way to do as many track events as possible. He ended up scoring third place at a meet at Northgate High School.
“It was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life to put in so much effort in an all day meet and come out strong,” Becker said.
Also memorable were the accomplishments of junior Toni Ali-Daggao, who lowered her times in both the 100 and 200 meter dash by 0.09 and 0.44 seconds respectively.
Ali-Daggao was able to achieve the improvement through work with a personal trainer, she said.
Piedmont even broke a meet record when Junior Reece Proctor achieved a sub two minute 800 meter race at Skyline High School.
“I had only run under two minutes once, a 1:59 against a competitive field,” Proctor said. “So to run almost two seconds faster completely uncontested and win my race by about seven seconds was an amazing feeling.”
But for others, the season was not everything they had hoped. Senior Mitchell Argue said he started the season chasing the school record for the 1600 meter. As the season progressed, it became apparent that was not going to happen. However, Argue said he has managed to stay consistent.
“Whatever I have this season, as long as it’s a PR, I’m gonna be happy,” Argue said.
Argue said he plans on continuing his running beyond high school.
“Running is just bliss for me,” Argue said. “I let go of all my responsibilities for two hours a day.”