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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Track and field jumps into Mission Valley League Finals

Bren Belmonte
Boys hurdle determinedly at the El Monte vs Marshall vs Gabrielino Tri-Meet on April 11

Update: Gabrielino qualified 23 athletes to CIF prelims.

   On April 26, the Gabrielino High School track and field team competed at Gabrielino in the Mission Valley League Finals. Those in the top three competed in the preliminary rounds of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) tournament last Saturday.

   “I’m looking forward to our league finals because I know that’s gonna be really competitive,” said senior Kyla Penamante, team captain. “And I know our team is going to perform well at league finals.”

   At the Mission Valley League Prelims last Tuesday, 67 Eagles competed against athletes from all six other schools. Those who placed top nine in their events advanced to the finals. Out of the 32 events offered, Gabrielino qualified competitors in 30 events. For many, this was the last meet of the season.

   “Even if it’s not your best jump, or your best time, or your best throw, the goal is just to make [the] top nine,” said sophomore Ajani Romero, team captain, who won first place in boys varsity 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and long jump. “That’s really what I was looking forward to.”

   On April 17, track competed away against Arroyo High School. Gabrielino took first place in 16 out of the 32 men’s events and 10 out of the 32 women’s events.

   “With pole vault, it’s just being able to get over the bar, because at first it’s very nerve wracking,” said junior Alexis Do, who won first in pole vault. “You don’t know if you’re gonna get it, but once you jump, and you take off, and you feel like the connection between you and the pole, then you’re like, ‘Okay, wow, this is awesome.’”

At the same meet, Romero placed first in the varsity 100 and 200-meter dash and second in the varsity long jump.

   “One thing my teammates say is that when I show up to the line, I look like the most focused I ever was,” Romero said. “They’ll even cheer me on on the sidelines, like, ‘Good luck Ajani!’ and I don’t even look at them. No, I’m looking forward.”

   In addition to competing in their own events, team members spend time at meets mentally preparing and supporting their teammates.

   “I think most of the challenges have just been mental preparation,” Penamante said. “Because there are a lot of times where a bunch of my teammates are nervous about how we’re going to perform […] But then we just have to remember, at the end of the day, we’re just there to have fun.”

   On April 13, track and field competed at the San Gabriel Valley Championships (SGV Champs) at the Covina District Field. The boys placed top three in seven events, with 11 boys breaking their personal records (PRs). While the girls did not place top three in any event, six girls PRed.

   “I’m working hard on getting PRs,” said junior James Yang, who competes in triple, long, and high jump. At SGV Champs, he placed first in triple jump and PRed in long jump. “[The most rewarding thing is] after you’ve jumped, then you’re off the hook, you don’t have to do anything else, just watching everyone else do their events.”

   One of the girls who PRed was sophomore Ngami Ly, who joined the team this year and competed in the 400-meter sprint and pole vault. She PRed in pole vault at SGV Champs.

   “So far, I really like spending time with my teammates and getting to know everyone,” Ly stated. “I also really like racing, but I started doing the 400 and it’s more scary than what I thought it would be.”

   Romero placed first in the freshman/sophomore divisions of 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump. While he has achieved significant competitive success, Romero focuses on setting a good example for his teammates and supporting them to grow and succeed.

   “I have to keep reminding myself that my goal is to set an example for the others,” Romero said. “And specifically, I want to set an example of what it looks like to live a Christ-like life, so living for God. […] The meets are fun, but it’s honestly just fun to be in the sun everyday with your teammates. I think that’s the biggest part.”

   With a meet or tournament at the end of every week, the team must balance intense workouts at the beginning of the week with fine-tuning, stretching, and resting as they get closer to the competition.

   “The most rewarding thing is just seeing everyone on the team perform really well, because they’ve all been working really hard,” said Penamante. “And I’ve been seeing that throughout every single practice.”

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About the Contributors
Sophia Pu
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief
Sophia Pu is the Editor in Chief for the school newspaper, marking her fourth year with the team. Outside of her editorial duties, Sophia is involved in Speech and Debate and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time in nature. Her commitment to the newspaper grew from a passion for interviewing a diverse range of individuals she might not have interacted with otherwise.
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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