Four members of the Track team qualified to compete in the CIF Southern Section Division II preliminary round last Saturday May 4. Among these four are seniors Alvin Tu, Daniel Lieu, Kirby Lam, and junior Gloria Lu. As each competitor qualified based off his or her own mark, they all competed individually but represented Mark Keppel at the meet. “Before the competition I felt kinda nervous because it was a big competition but since I already experienced last year I kinda knew what to expect so it was more of a familiar feeling,” says Lu.
Intimidation was one of the setbacks that hurt Lam, Lieu, and Lu mentally, as Lieu says, “The competition [was the hardest obstacle] because everybody is so fast and they’re super big and strong.”
Lam agrees, earning a mark of 17 feet nine inches in Long Jump and 41 feet five inches in Triple Jump during Saturday’s meet. The jumps were not near his usual marks, as his personal record (PR) in Long Jump is 20 feet five inches and his PR Triple Jump is 42 feet six inches. “I definitely could have not been as stressed because I was focusing too much at first for the boards so that messed up my jumps,” says Lam.
Similarly, Lieu and Lu allowed the pressure to inhibit their best performance. Running the 400 meter event, Lieu earned a time of 54.67 seconds, despite his PR of 53.62. Lu jumped 14 feet 11 and a half inches during the preliminary meet, leaving almost a two feet deficit from her PR of 16 feet 10 inches. However, she was able to earn a mark of 34 feet 4 inches for her Triple Jump, setting her new PR. “I didn’t warm up well enough before my jump. [I] probably shouldn’t have sat around before, and focused more on warming up instead of watching other people,” says Lu.
Out of the four Aztecs, Tu was able to earn a mark high enough to allow him to earn seventh overall and advance onto the second round. This was unexpected, as Tu had injured himself during practice, three days prior to the meet. The injury created pain in his quadriceps, as he explains how “[his] leg couldn’t take it. Even warming up [it] was hurting already.” Despite the drawback, Tu was still able to hit a PR of 43 feet and six inches for his Triple Jump event.
Entering the second round of CIF for Track this Saturday at El Camino College, Tu is ready to do just what he did last Saturday, and surprise competitors. “I felt intimidated at first but… I thought if I could strike back with my first jump which was my best jump and surprise everyone,” says Tu. Echoing what Lieu says, Tu explains that with so much fierce competition and strong physique, he was a wild card the other flights did not expect.
With nine jumpers in each of four flights in total, grouped based on qualifying marks, Tu was placed in the third flight. Qualifying for the final round of CIF SS, Tu had beat four of the nine other jumpers in flight four.
As the next meet is in five days, Tu plans to stay well rested, “keep [his] legs well rested, and make sure [he] practices hard this week and not injure [himself] a second time.”