Track and field sprints through preseason, sets goals for season


Photo credit: Aiea Clark

Nia Mosby, Giana Parks and Hailey Adams warm up during one of their after school practices. The entire team feels "excited" to officially begin their season this year and begin competing. Their first liberty league meet took place on March 3.

As the fall and winter seasons came to a close, Archer’s varsity track and field team suited up for their annual preseason, which began no later than mid-December. Although track and field is considered a spring sport, the running squad begins their training in the winter on the Lincoln Middle School and West LA tracks as well as in the Archer weight room. With their first meet already in the books, the runners are “looking forward” to continuing the remainder of their season this year.

At their first meet against Birmingham High School, the Panthers were able to pull out an overall meet win over the Birmingham runners.

Junior Deeya Gupta, who will participate in the shot-put and discus events this upcoming season, expressed her “excitement” and “love” for her fellow teammates this year.

“I have a really good bond with all of the girls on the team, so it really does feel like a family,” Gupta said. “It’s more than just being on a team together, it’s being friends too.”

Gupta has one goal in mind that she’d like to accomplish before the end of the season, specifically pertaining to her performance in the discus event.

“Numbers is what comes to mind for me,” Gupta said. “I want to be able to throw 110 [meters] by the end of the season.”

Like Gupta, sophomore Shaunael Milton will participate in various field events this upcoming season such as the long jump and triple jump. Both of these events demand a good deal of core and muscular strength.

During their preseason workouts in the weight room, Milton said head coach Phil Smith chose to focus on a lot of endurance and cardio.

“Mostly it’s a lot of endurance work,” Milton said. “Technique is also involved. [We’re] very honed in on how to run, since there’s a very specific way on how you’re supposed to run, which can help you run faster and not get injured.”

Echoing Gupta’s testaments about the camaraderie on the team, Milton describes track and field as her “favorite thing to do.”

“I get along well with all of my teammates and I like the support that they give me,” Milton said. “It’s always a great time being with them and learning from the seniors, especially.”

Another returning sophomore on the running squad, Ali Aragon, describes the workouts included in the preseason as “intense.”

“For preseason, we did a diverse amount of training methods,” Aragon said. “We did running, short distance, long distance, weights, et cetera.”

Aragon, who first started participating in the track and field program at Archer during her seventh-grade year, will be running in the 400 meter event.

One goal that is equally shared among the athletes interviewed is the eagerness to win the league title for the second year in a row and compete in the CIF division for as long as they can.

“One of our team goals is to win the league title and also continue on to CIF, and send as many athletes as we can into there as possible,” Aragon said.

All three runners described Smith as a “confident” and “dedicated” coach who consistently supports them both on and off the track.

“Coach Phil is an amazing coach,” Aragon said. “He has so much confidence in all of the runners, and I’m really grateful for the opportunities that he brings to the team.”