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Track captains hopeful as season begins

By Joy Lee

Photos courtesy of Tamika Bassman

Track season officially kicked off on Feb. 9 for the 2015 season and captains in distance, sprint and throwing teams have been working to inspire their teammates. There are approximately 72 people on the sprint and throwing team, and 40 on the distance team.

Senior Tamika Bassman, captain of the sprint track team, says that her goal for this year is “to encourage everyone to work really hard and realize that if you put in the efforts, you can get faster and better….you can gain a lot of confidence.”

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When asked why she wanted to be captain, Bassman talks about previous captains and how she “admired their leadership and ability to round up everybody and inspire everyone to kind of want to take that position.”

This is Bassman’s third year in track.  She was selected as captain “through her commitment to track…and by attending pre season to the 2015 track season.” Although Bassman says pre season refers to ”the amount of time she has put in since September every day of the week,” she also practiced with a few of her teammates “pre-pre season.”

Justin Trinh and co-captain Dong Thai, who are both seniors, also had their pre-season start right after winter break.

Within the sprinting team, there are also about 10 people who practice separately as throwers. Michelle Ching, captain of the throwing team, didn’t have a choice to be captain because the throwing team currently does not have a coach who would choose a captain, but thinks “being captain is nice.” Despite the lack of a coach, Ching says that everyone on the throwing team knows each other “pretty well…and everyone’s really friendly.”

In addition to knowing each other well, the throwing team also has nicknames for each other. “We tried to make nicknames for each other…Travis is T-Ravage and then people call me Mama M,” Ching said.

The track team spends a lot of time together and consequently becomes very close.
The track team spends a lot of time together and consequently becomes very close.

Trinh also says he has a close relationship with several of his teammates. The most memorable times with them “are probably the overnight trips to Fresno….and going to the pool with my teammates after practice,” Trinh said.

The sprint team has their own sprint dinner before the actual team dinner held once a year toward the end of the track season. “Sprinter Dinner is always memorable because I had to help give the senior gifts for last year’s captains…we got them crowns and and goodie bags and gave really funny speeches about them,” Bassman said.

One memorable meet from last year for Paco Sprouse was Serra Top Seven. This is one of the top meets that runners must qualify to run in. It is called Top Seven because only certain individuals are qualified to run it. “It was interesting because some of the people couldn’t run for some reason and some of the underclassmen ran as them…it was fun,” Sprouse said.

This event allowed some of the underclassmen an opportunity to gain experience in a race that they wouldn’t have gotten until later in their track careers.

Thai’s most memorable event was the summer camp of 2013 at the Redwoods. He really enjoyed it because “the whole team attended and there were some alums too,” Thai said. This experience contributed to his interest in being captain.

When Thai and Trinh were asked how well they knew each other, they both replied “Too well.”

As captains, not only only do they help the team as whole, but they also work with individual team members.

Bassman has worked with sophomore Julian Aguilar. “I guess I’m kind of responsible for recruiting him because he was in my P.E. class and I told him to do track and then he joined after that….I’ve been trying to help him since then because I know he’s really fast.”

Thai has also helped one of teammates who is also one of his closest friends. “We train together because I both think we have the same amount of talent…we push each other to our best limits,” Thai said.

Sophomore Matthew Yep has also been helped by Justin Trinh. “He has a lot of potential,” Trinh said.

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