The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Jerry Wang Pushes Himself to the Extreme

Aarush De
Wang (center) sprints towards the finish line at the scrimmage at California High School on Sept. 2.

With the camaraderie and support of the close-knit cross country team, senior Jerry Wang looks ahead to his third and final year of the sport. Wang has been an avid cross country runner since his sophomore year. 

 The simplicity of the sport attracted him. Cross country is a unique sport in that it requires almost no equipment at all, making it a so-called “raw sport” in Wang’s words. Over the years, Wang’s commitment to the sport has extended deeper than a simple love for running as he connected with more of his fellow runners.

“[Cross country] changed my social circle,” Wang noted. “I’ve found that cross country has a huge impact [when it comes to connections] since you spend a lot of extra time with those people.”

Wang and the team run on local trails and roads throughout San Ramon and Danville. They arrive at Diablo Vista Middle School via Lawrence Road, run through the Old Ranch neighborhoods and frequent the hills and trails behind Windemere Ranch Middle School. 

In a recent race that took place at Cal High, Wang recalls high-fiving fellow runner Snehal  Bakshi several times. As Bakshi stood at the sidelines with his arm extended, Wang would race past and swing his hand to meet Bakshi’s, which almost made Wang lose balance on one occasion.

“It gave me adrenaline, [and it] was very funny,” Wang recalled.

Cross country friendships like that between Wang and Bakshi converge spectacularly at the annual cross country senior night. Held toward the end of the season, senior night features speeches, awards and other team bonding activities to say goodbye to the graduating seniors. 

“Cross country senior nights are really nice since they’re a celebration with food and with all of your friends,” Wang said.

The strong, unwavering friendship of Wang’s teammates is balanced by the intensity of cross country practices, which typically fall into one of two categories: tempo workouts and easy runs. Tempo workouts are rapid and exhausting, pushing runners to their race pace. Easy runs allow for recovery between tempo runs but typically involve more mileage, roughly seven miles or so. 

Wang, however, has taken cross country training to the extreme. While the typical mileage for a high school cross country runner ranges from 20 to 50 miles per week, Wang has pushed himself to run as much as 90 miles in a single week.

Progress is really confusing. Sometimes you work harder and you get less results, and sometimes you work less and you get more results.”

“People always say that you can’t just have talent, you also have to work hard and put in effort,” Wang said. “What if I just work harder than everyone else and get more mileage? After practice, everyone always just stalls around while waiting for their parents to pick them up, so what if I use this time to get extra miles on the track?”

This determined mindset drove Wang to attempt a marathon alone the week before the start of the school year. However, due to extreme hot weather and the onset of hyperthermia, he stopped at mile 22. 

Despite the rigorous nature of Wang’s cross country training, his improvement is often quite unpredictable. 

“Progress is really confusing,” he mentioned. “Sometimes you work harder and you get less results, and sometimes you work less and you get more results.”

Whether facing grueling, blistering practices or deteriorating race times, Wang and the cross country team will have each other to rely on.

“You’re training together and cheering each other on,” Wang said. “It’s really great.”

With the cross country season in full swing, Wang hopes to practice more effectively by training harder on workout days and going lighter on recovery days. But no matter how the season goes, Wang can find always motivation in his fellow runners.

According to Wang, his teammates are always telling each other, “I know you can break this goal, I know you can go faster.”

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About the Contributor
David Zhang
David Zhang, Staff Writer
David joined the Wildcat Tribune out of curiosity for the behind-the-scenes process of journalism publication. In J1 last year, David played around with various forms of journalism, and this year he hopes to gain more experience with conducting interviews. In his free time, David enjoys playing card games with his friends and running in the hills behind his home. Outside of school, he's an avid participant in college-run math tournaments. If David could be anyone else on the Tribune, he would aspire to become Benjamin because of his natural charisma and infectious enthusiasm.

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