Q&A with 2016-2017 varsity track captain: Leyla Namazie


Photo credit: Madina Mohammed

The 2016- 2017 varsity track and field team. Leyla Namazie not pictured. Photo taken by Madina Mohammed.

Running on a track in the scorching sun, seeing heat waves radiate from the ground, hearing her teammates cheer her on: this is what senior Leyla Namazie lives for.

Namazie has been running track and field since sixth grade and is now the captain of the 2016- 2017 varsity track and field team. The Oracle sat down with her to find out more about the season so far.

Why do you enjoy track & field?

Leyla Namazie [LN]: I like track because, even though it’s not technically a game like soccer or basketball, it’s still really fun and really challenging. It’s mostly mental, which I think is the part that’s most appealing to me because it keeps me on my toes all the time. Even though it’s an individual sport, I love the team environment because you all work together and go through the pain together. It really creates a bond between everyone.

How has the season been going so far?

LN: [The team has] been doing really, really well. I am actually injured this season — so I haven’t been able to run too much — but I did get a few runs in in the beginning of the season, which was really great. We definitely have a lot more sprinters this year, which helped our point ranking in the league — which is awesome. They are working really hard, and I’m really proud.

What does a typical practice look like?

LN : So, after school we go to the back, get on the bus and go to West LA, [where we practice]. [We] do a few laps for a warm up and do some stretches. Most of what we do is focused on the shorter distances, so we do a lot of sprinting and working on speed.

How do you prepare for a meet?

LN : There’s a lot of mental preparation involved [as well as] physical. Usually you want to take it easy the days before a meet; you want your body to be ready for it because it’s hard. Mentally, you really want to just imagine yourself running because visualization is super important.

What is it like to be the captain of a varsity team?

LN: It’s definitely interesting. I was captain last year but something about being senior makes it a lot different. Even though I was captain last year, the seniors were also kind of like co-captains. They took on most of the responsibility, and I was just kind of there — but this year it’s different. I’m the senior, so I take responsibility for everyone and everything, which is a lot, but I’ve gotten used to it since I was also a cross country captains. It definitely feels good to be captain because I’ve reached that level where I feel comfortable talking to the other runners if they need any help or have any questions. It’s really awesome, and I think it helps us bond.

What are you doing to help the team bond and work together?

LN: We did have a sleepover recently which was super fun. We just do a lot of fun games, make a lot of jokes and keep a positive attitude. No one is going to want to bond if they’re unhappy, so just staying positive is really important.

What do you hope to accomplish as a team this season?

LN: It would be awesome if we could win league; I think we definitely have it in us to do it this year. But more importantly, I think it’s more important that [the runners] are happy with their work, and they feel a sense of accomplishment because running is hard. I would rather they feel happy about their own accomplishments than about winning league or getting first.