Jefferson indoor track team nears end of season with regional championship


Nathan Liu

Jefferson’s indoor track team competes in the boys 4×800 relay at the regional championships, in which they placed seventh. “At regionals, we have some teams moving up to states,” team captain Kevin Shan said. “I think we’re doing good considering we had a lot of people leave.”

Megan Zhang, Staff Writer

Jefferson’s indoor track team competed in the regional championship on Monday, Feb. 13, and Friday, Feb. 15. They saw a second-place win for the boys 4×400 relay as well as a third-place win from junior Steve Tchana in the 300-meter dash and from senior Aidan Singer in the 1000 meter run, securing spots at VHSL’s state championship.

“I surprised myself,” Tchana said. “I was a bit tired, but I beat my personal best. We also qualified for states in the 4×400 relay, so I was really happy about that. I didn’t show that I was super excited, but I was, and the other guys were going crazy and jumping everywhere.”

The girls 4×400 relay team faced more unfortunate circumstances. After a mistake from a meet official that forced freshman Alana Watkins to run across all the lanes from lane six to lane one, the team was disqualified when a runner from Edison tripped over Watkins.

“I was upset since it’s not like we purposely tried to interfere with [Edison’s] handoff,” Watkins said. “We probably would have gotten a faster time had our handoff been cleaner and [this mistake] didn’t happen. We matched our personal record that we hit at districts, so we probably could have dropped a few seconds.”

Still, the relay team is proud of how they managed despite the disqualification.

“I’m proud that even though there was a huge mistake that happened because of the meet official, we still made our [baton] handoff and kept running,” junior Aurora Richards said.

As the season comes to a close, the indoor track team appreciates the hard work each runner put into giving their best performance this season, especially with the influx of injuries.

“Towards the end of the season, a lot of people were getting injured, like Aurora,” Watkins said. “I’m very proud of how they’ve handled it and still put their best foot forward for the team.”

The team also encountered struggles at the beginning of the season. With the large number of senior runners graduating last year, many underclassmen had to step up to fill their shoes this season.

“We had a lot of seniors from last year graduate,” team captain Kevin Shan said. “Basically half of our relay team for the 4×200 left, so we had to scramble around to find new people to fill in. But we had someone new to indoor track who did outdoor track last year, Steve Tchana, and he came in and broke our school record in the 300-meter dash. We also had a lot of great performances in the relays.”

Despite these setbacks, the team enjoyed team-bonding experiences this season that they were unable to do in past seasons.

“Last year, we weren’t able to go on our overnight trip because of COVID,” Shan said. “This year, we were able to go to Liberty University. I’ve been doing track since freshman year, and this was my first time going. Everyone really enjoyed the trip—it was definitely one of the highlights of our season.”

In future seasons, many indoor track runners hope to keep working and improving their times.

“I’m looking forward to more experience running more races [next season],” Richards said. “Hopefully, I can cut down a lot of time.”