On April 13, the Berkeley High School track and field team took on Castro Valley and San Leandro, for their final home meet of the season. BHS showcased their speed and skill on the track, placing first in many of the events.
Leading up to a race, athletes have to make sure they are mentally and physically prepared to handle the pressures and challenges that come with it.
Athletes have many different strategies and rituals that help them get mentally locked in right before a race.
“Listening to music (before a race) really helps me focus,” said junior Jadon Redman.
Junior Malachi Katz’s mental strategy is a little different. “I just try to focus on being in the moment, and telling myself that I can do it and to not worry about what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.
Track coach Brad Johnson has some tips on how to get the right mindset before a race. “The way you work on mindset is by simulating the space that you’re going to be in in competition. You have to be in that space. You have to practice in that space. You have to compete in that space. The key is to lock in and be in there as long as possible. If you’re focused during practice, you start the same way in practice as you do during a race. … It’ll translate,” said Johnson.
Redman reiterated Johnson’s statement. “Practice makes perfect,” he said.
Johnson made it clear that mental and physical preparation are equally important when preparing for a race. “The best athlete with a bad mentality (during a race), will run poorly. But if you don’t train, you won’t have the physical capacity to run. It’s not one or the other,” said Johnson.
Mental preparation didn’t seem to be a problem for Berkeley, as they managed to secure many top finishes.
The group of Yair Naftalin-Kelman, Giuseppe Chiappetta, Jalen Madjidi, and Matteo Small clinched the top spot in the men’s varsity 4×400 relay. Freshman Carina Nottingham and junior Mason Mullen both took first place in the women’s and men’s 3200-meter race, respectively.
In the men’s 110-meter hurdles, Josiah Smith secured first place, while senior Alessandra Ionescu-Zanetti claimed first place in the women’s 300-meter hurdles. Senior Luke De Valpine dusted his competition in the 1600, nearly lapping another runner en route to victory.
Berkeley’s top runners will compete for glory in the Sacramento Meet of Champions, on Saturday, April 22.