Track runs in first meet

Junior+Astrid+Ligonde+runs+the+100m+hurdles.+

Betsy Kruse

Junior Astrid Ligonde runs the 100m hurdles.

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After last week’s successful meet,  the track team has high hopes for the second meet of the season.

The first spring meet, which took place April 3 at Annandale, was used to set benchmark times and distances for students. Both the varsity and junior varsity teams competed in the meet against West Potomac and Lake Braddock.

Coaches wanted to see how well their athletes could perform under pressure.

“These times will be used as comparisons for this whole season,” distance coach Dave O’Hara said.

Field events made strong efforts with boys shotput placing third and fifth thanks to two throws over 35 feet, from sophomore Khalil Haj-assad and junior Jake Velazquez respectively.  Neither girls shot put nor discus as a whole placed.  Two members of the boys pole vault team were able to clear the opening height; only one went on to pass the next mark.

“We have a young group and I was very happy with how they threw and jumped,” field coach Bob Sykes said.  “I’m starting to see that they are implementing skills we work on during practice.”

Girls long jump delivered with a collective nine points earned by juniors Destiny Anderson, Elexis Evans and Katherine Ross.

However, not all athletes were satisfied with their performances.

“I was not happy with how I did,” senior Hung Truong said.  “It’s been a long time since my last track meet and I know I’ll get more into the rhythm with every race.”

Normally varsity members would only go to invitational meets (for example, the Gojekian Track Classic on April 12) where the competition is at a much higher level.  AHS coaches have a different strategy, where on top of the invitational meets, varsity athletes also have to run and throw at junior varsity meets.

“They are not expected to set school records,” O’Hara said.  “We put them out there solely to win and earn points for our team.”

Only three runners remain from last year’s state championship team: seniors Austin Chavez and Alex Ellison and sophomore Bernard Andoh, who all compete mainly in the sprint events and occationally mid-distance events. Even so, there is confidence that the same feat can be achieved this year.

“We just follow what our coach tells us to do and we always come out successful,” Andoh said.  “We have some young athletes on our team looking in great shape to compete at a higher level.”

The next meet will take place April 10 at W.T. Woodson, where the Atoms will compete against Woodson, Lee and South County.