Sprinting Toward Victory at Pacific Coast League

Junior Thomas Chen accelerates during his desperate sprint to the finish line during his 1600 race. Chen came in 12th in the JV category, securing the last spot in the PCL Finals.

Julia Kim, Jordan Lee, and Ki Joon Lee

Track and field (1-4) competed against five other high school teams in the Pacific Coast League finals held at the track on April 26. Although some athletes will compete at CIF preliminaries at Estancia High, this meet concluded the season for most athletes as the team placed 10th out of 35 teams in Division III.

Thrower and junior Sam Gatta took first in shot put with a mark of 48 feet 9 inches, qualifying for CIF for his first time.

“Personally, it’s a big PR [personal record] for me because I get to go to CIF and compete with the best athletes in Southern California,” Gatta said. “I had a little hiccup halfway through the season, but towards the end of the season I started to get back to the groove of it.”

Continuing her CIF streak from last year, pole vaulter and sophomore Natalie Ng will compete at CIF preliminaries. The boys’ 4×400 relay team, including juniors Peyton Dalmacio and Aidan Manzi and sophomores Ali Ghafuri and Sherwin Salehi, will also compete for their first time at the CIF preliminaries.

“Our boys’ 4×400 varsity relay finished fourth place, and we did not meet that freelance standard [to qualify for CIF]. Fortunately, they got the wild card entry,” head coach Victor Quiros said.“This year it’s going to be really nice because we actually are representing both track — boys’ 4×400 — and field — Sam Gatta and Natalie Ng — aspects at the CIF.”

If the Bulldogs pass CIF preliminaries, they will compete at CIF state championships on May 24-25 at Buchanan High.

“This was a track season unlike any other that we’ve had. It was the first traditional season, and it’s gonna continue to grow,” Quiros said. “Unlike every other school in our league that will be losing an entire class of 12th graders, we’re gonna maintain our entire student body and receive another 30, 40, 50 athletes and get stronger…We’re gonna be very competitive.”

With a growing track and field program, team members look to not only improve personal records but also to help other teammates achieve their personal records as well. While the season came to an end, the excitement for next year’s team and PCL is undeniable.

“At the start of the year, we were kind-of distant with the newer people that came in, but we tried working it out as we got sorted out into our own events,” sophomore and triple-jumper Sohrob Shahmirzadi said. “This year, the newcomers actually helped me; they pushed me to become better, and I think it’s my turn to do the same for them.”