The Berkeley High School (BHS) track team has been working hard since the beginning of February, and as their season comes to a close, they hope to participate in the North Coast Section (NCS) championships. According to senior track runner Itai Bojdak-Yates, it is very competitive to get into NCS, and only about a dozen BHS athletes go. Some runners also try to go to the even more rivalrous State meet as well, however “the qualifying time for State in the 100-meter is sub-eleven seconds and the qualifying time for the mile is sub-4:20” said Bojdak-Yates. His goal is to qualify for NCS for long distance. Discus and shot put athlete Eliza Bazakas emphasized the difficulty of State by stating that usually only one student goes each year. “Track and field is extremely competitive in California; you have to be in the top 30 in the state to make it,” she said.
This year, the track team has a relatively young team with many underclassmen. Overall, they’re a strong group of athletes, and everyone on the team works hard and is focused. One challenge track has had to deal with this season is the inconsistent coaching staff. However, the juniors and seniors of the team have stepped up by leading practices and mentoring the younger athletes.
Sophomore Isabella Farrell, who participates in long jump and triple jump, says that her favorite part about track is that participants “are a pretty unique group of people who all come from different backgrounds and friend groups,” allowing everyone to make many new friends. Additionally, Farrell is proud that the team is determined, hardworking, and supportive. “Everyone wants not only themselves, but also their team members to succeed, and you can see this in every meet … when we all make sure that anyone racing for Berkeley High can hear our supportive cheers pushing them forward,” she said. Farrell has broken her personal record four times this season, showing she has consistently improved throughout these past couple months. Farrell will most likely be qualifying for NCS this year, which is rare for underclassmen.
This year, BHS senior Georgina Evelyn Ward also accomplished a lot. She received first place at the West Alameda County Conference Center Meet in April and broke the pole vaulting record at BHS. Her jump was twelve feet high, which is three feet higher than her record last year. Ward has only been pole vaulting for a year and a half, but she used to be a competitive gymnast, which helps her with track. Last year she participated in sprinting and pole vaulting, but this year she only focused on the latter.
“My favorite part about track is the number of events the sport has to offer — long distance, sprinting, throwing, and jumping events. There really is an event for everybody, therefore track attracts such a large, diverse group of athletes,” Ward said. She hopes to continue pole vaulting in college in Scotland.
Overall, the track team has accomplished lots this season. At their first meet, Skyline Invitational, many BHS athletes did well. For example, one student came in first and fourth for the triple jump and long jump seeded finals, respectively. Additionally, one student placed second for the 400 meter varsity event and a different BHS athlete got sixth in triple jump for varsity. With all this impressive talent, BHS hopes to succeed in NCS on May 17 and possibly at State, as well.