The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Track and field hosts first meet of the season

Audrey Li
Launching herself with just a pole, sophomore Sydney Eom maneuvers her body up and over the 6-foot-high bar. After being introduced to pole vaulting by a senior last year, Eom now regularly competes in the event. “It’s definitely a bit scary at first, but I ​​found out it was really fun,” Eom said.

A piercing crack rings through the air. An official shouts for the next triple jumper. Choruses of students cheer for their teammates. The air is crisp, a breeze ruffles through the air. Jefferson Track and Field hosted their first and only home meet of the spring track season on March 13, 2024. Both the girls and boys outdoor track teams competed, along with 7 other schools from across the region.

“For spring track, since it’s so crowded, there’s A and B meets so they have events in A meets and then different events for B meets. Yesterday was an A meet, so I couldn’t run the 200-meter dash, ” freshman Angela Yan said.

Among the athletes preparing for their events is sophomore Sydney Eom, a pole vaulter and sprinter. Beside the track where the pole vaulting mats and bar are set up, Eom has already completed her warm-up routine, which includes two practice runs to prepare her for the pole vaulting event. As the official calls her name, Eom positions herself far enough from the runway so that she can gain momentum to vault over the bar, the long pole that will later launch her into the air steady in her hands.

“I prefer spring track because it’s warmer outside and I prefer the events. I do the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the 4 × 100-meter relay and then pole vault,” Eom said. 

Taking a deep breath, Eom runs, digs the pole into the ground, and launches herself over the bar. While this is happening, the running events start, which Eom is also a part of. Because of this, field events and running events can sometimes overlap.

“I would check out, then run my event, and then come back if I’m still vaulting,” Eom said.

Meanwhile, Yan, a sprinter, is also gearing up for her races later in the evening. Unlike Eom, who competes in both field and running events, Yan focuses solely on the track, specializing in short sprints like the 100-meter dash. For track and field athletes like Yan and Eom, speed and agility are crucial, as a race could be over in less than 15 seconds. Daily training in the weight room and on the track helps to improve their skills. 

“We do flying 40s, which is when you run 40 meters, trying to accelerate as fast as you can, and then [the coach] times it,” Yan said. 

As the meet progresses, the track fills with competitors, each one eager to showcase their talents at the first meet of the season. Some athletes have been training since the winter, participating in indoor track and then making the transition to outdoors once the spring season starts.

“The meets for winter track are on an indoor track, and the distances are different. So for indoor track, there are 55 and 300 meters for sprinters. And then for outdoor track, it’s 100 and 200 meters,” Yan said. 

Both Yan and Eom prefer the spring season as they enjoy the opportunity to race outside in wider lanes and in the warm spring weather. At the boom of the gun, runners jump over hurdles, hand over batons in relay races and pace themselves for long-distance events like the 1600-meter run. The cheers from the bleachers serve as a constant reminder of the supportive community of Jefferson’s Track and Field. 

“Track is such a good experience. You learn a lot of new skills and you meet new friends, and it’s just really fun,” Eom said. 

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