Talent Runs High On Track Team


Hana Thomas, Web Editor

As the Spring season blooms, PHS students are running, throwing, and jumping their way to the top of the West Alameda County Conference (WACC).

With a record high number of athletes, the PHS track and field team has found success since their season started in Feb., with three individuals and two relay teams headed to the 2023 Stanford Invitational Meet.  

The season started with a new head coach and nearly twice as many athletes as compared to previous seasons.  

“We started with about 80 kids. There was a lot of positivity that was happening and the kids recruited their friends and we got all the way up to about 103, which is really exciting,” said Pouyan Assadi, head coach of the PHS track and field team. Assadi, known as “Coach P” to his athletes, said there is a nice social dynamic within the team.  Several members of the team agree.

“We’ve gotten people from every little section, and a bunch of friend groups have gotten more into the sport,” captain and senior Parker Long said.  “It’s nice seeing it all come together.”

Long is preparing for the Stanford Invitational Meet after running the eighth fastest 800M in California.  The meet, hosted by Castilleja High School from March 31 through April 1 is the most prestigious midseason meet in Northern California, Assadi said.  

“I haven’t really been setting any time goals and being super serious about it,” Long said. “It’s my last season of running in high school, so I’ve just been trying to capitalize on every opportunity and just have as much fun as I can.”

Long and other athletes also qualified for one the leading meets in the country, the Arcadia Invitational Meet, held April 7-8.

Along with the veterans, new runners provide new coaching opportunities for Assadi and other event coaches.  

“As a coaching staff, we’ve just approached things a little bit differently,” Assadi said.

  “We did an experimental couple of weeks to start the season, instead of just assuming everyone knew what events they were going to do.”

This new coaching approach allows athletes to explore different events.  With an abundance of underclassmen this season, Assadi and the other coaches are laying the foundation for the future of PHS track and field.

“When you look at our team, we not only have all that top level talent, but we are also developing a group of younger athletes who are stepping up and trying out new things,” Assadi said.

An example of rising talent on the team is freshman Skylar Best. After making CIF Championships as an individual during cross country season, Best looks forward to breaking her personal records in the 800M, 1600M, and 3200M races.

“Even though you’re running alone, the team supports you in a larger way. Every person counts. Track is a team sport,” Best said.