Track and field is a demanding sport for individual students consisting of hours-long meets with over a dozen events ranging from relay races to shot put. But the genuine camaraderie athletes form across teams makes them successful.
Students learn to navigate their own challenges with the support of their teammates. “They love to help each other,” said Aariana Goshen, Patriot High’s hurdles coach. “They always know that somebody is watching.” Patriot High School hosted the River Valley League Finals for the first time in Patriot history this season. That not only excited students but made them nervous, too.
While students have their own goals and constraints, being there for each other strengthens their self-esteem and relationships on and off the field. Donovan Ralls and Raelene Ramirez, PHS captains, both participated in multiple races and supported their teammates through mental and physical blocks. They share constructive criticism and emotional support to push their peers to move forward from those difficulties.
Students’ motivation in track and field also applies to their academics. Falling behind in school is not an option when academic requirements are in place. Kevin Garcia, Jurupa Valley’s head coach, has seen that energize students to succeed in school. “[Track and field] gives me something to look forward to,” said Ruby Birdwell. “I might not want to do my work, but if I do my work, I can keep running track.”
Both Ruby and Brooke Welliver, captains of the Jurupa Valley High team, broke school records this year. Ruby broke three for the 100 and 300-meter hurdle and 4x1 relay race while Brooke broke the discus throw record twice this season. Brooke’s focus on her academics empowered her to continuously break her personal records (PR) on the field.
Rubidoux High School’s track team adapted to the unusually wet weather the past few months to continue training diligently. Reginald Hampton, RHS head coach, expressed pride in his athletes. Though Rubidoux was a smaller team and trained less, girls placed third in the Mountain Valley League Finals and senior Mia Green made it to the CIF Masters Meet for triple jump.
Riley Villanueva, RHS, shared that as a runner and hurdler, she pushed her limits by continuously training. As a captain, she demonstrated good sportsmanship by supporting her JVHS peers along with her teammates. “Even though there’s a lot of individuality within the sport,” said Riley, “it is a team sport and we need to be there to cheer each other on.”
Nathan Aguilar, RHS captain, learned more than just discipline and focus to meet his goals in track and field. He joined to become a better athlete in football but found himself loving his Rubidoux track family in the end. He put the time, work, and dedication into his athletics and academics to “enjoy such a luxury of a sport."
The difficult strides, jumps, and throws were worth it. Jurupa Valley High girls were named Mountain Valley League Champions and Patriot High placed second overall in the River Valley League Finals.