Dougherty Valley High School’s Track and Field team races Acalanes to the finish line

On March 16, Dougherty’s track and field field team faced off against Acalanes at its own track in the first DFAL and home meet of the season.

Dougherty’s Varsity men, Junior Varsity men and Junior Varsity women dominated, but sadly the Varsity women fell to Acalanes. A total of 184 athletes competed at the race, and 101 personal records were achieved. Many of the athletes in Dougherty’s track and field achieved impressive times and distances in their events and several individuals who won their events achieved personal records and even broke school records in men’s 300 meter hurdles and women’s triple jump.

Although Dougherty’s Varsity women did not take the win over Acalanes, several athletes still achieved  many outstanding times and distances for their respective track and field events. Senior Helen Guo won the 1600 meter, also known as the mile, with a time of 5:09. Sophomore Tarra O’Malley took first place in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:31. In shot put, junior Pamela Grissom dominated with a distance of 32 feet. Senior Katie O’Malley won in the high jump with a height of 4 feet 10 inches and senior Christina Lee broke the school record for women’s triple jump with a distance of 31 feet 10 inches, taking first place.

In Men’s Varsity, Dougherty had many athletes take first place. In the 4×400 meter relay, Dougherty’s Varsity boys team of Harish Athavan, Logan Grady, Sam Tarasow and Jeff Sze won with a time of 3:42.  In the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, sophomore Ethan Song achieved easy first places with times of 11.38 and 23.37 seconds, respectively. In the 800-meter dash, sophomore Tommy Bell won first place with a time of 2:04. Junior Neil Braganza won the 1600 meter with a time of 4:27. In the 3200 meter, also known as the two mile,  junior Quinn Schmidt took the win with 9:56. In Long Jump, Senior Dhroova Khannan had a distance of 20 feet 9 inches and took first place. And last but not least, senior Harish Athavan won in the 110 meter 39 inch and 300 meter 36 inch hurdles, not only achieving personal records in both, but also breaking the school record in the 300 meter hurdles. In his sophomore year, Athavan had already set the school record in the 300 meter hurdles, so at this meet he simply broke his own personal record to set the new school record.

Athavan and Lee, the two school record breakers at this meet, were able to leave their legacy at Dougherty as seniors in their last year of track and field.

Lee exclaimed, “It feels rewarding to break the record! Without the support of my teammates and coaches, I would not have been able to achieve this goal.”

She adds, “If I could give a piece of advice to people that I’ve learned in my years of being in track and field, it would be to enjoy it. Embrace the good and bad times. Try not to get too caught up on a bad race, jump, throw, etc. Instead, listen to criticism and focus on what you can do to improve. Track, more specifically jumping, is largely a mental sport. Although it may be frustrating, it is important to not give up.”

Athavan affirms and stated, “[Breaking the school record] feels inexplicably amazing. Honestly, it’s the moment you realize that you’ve made your coach, family, and friends proud. More importantly though, it made me recognize that my time with this fantastic team is coming to a close end; so I hope to cherish every little moment with my fellow athletes and coaches.”

He reminds his fellow athletes, “Track is a team sport. Many athletes seem to forget this important point and focus more on individual growth. However, in recent years Dougherty’s track team has given itself a respectable name in the DFAL league and it’s important we maintain that by coming together as a track-athlete-family-camaraderie type of thing.”

Coach Thomas Chamberlain also expressed his pride in the athletes and his excitement for the season to come.

Regarding goals for the seaons, Chamberlain stated, “For the team goals, this year for the Men’s varsity our goal is to repeat as DFAL champions by going undefeated in dual meets and winning the league championship meet. For the Girls varsity team our goal is to try and win as many dual meets as possible and then win the League Championship meet. As for the Frosh Soph team, my goal for them is to see steady improvement in skill and in their times and distances jumped or thrown.”

He adds, “I am looking forward to the whole year really, it being our last year in DFAL. I just want to enjoy all of the competitions and seeing our athletes put all of their hard work into competing is something that I really enjoy.”

Overall, Dougherty track and field athletes performed well at the meet and are still working and training hard for the rest of their races in the season.