Q: What age did you start track and field and why did you start?
A: My mother got us into all different kinds of sports, and my dad was actually a track athlete himself, so he got me to try it. I started around four, but I didn’t take it seriously until I was 13. Now I want to be a perfectionist, and that’s why track is the best sport to do that in. There are so many amazing people, and it is not as much about talent as it is about mental and technical preparations.
Q: How long do you normally practice each week?
A: Particularly this year, I was cross training for track while I was playing soccer on the weekends and throughout the week. I would have track practice from 5 to 7 o’clock. I would run two miles, do dynamic stretches and exercises up a hill. I would take Sundays off to just rest. Now I practice everyday because I like to, and my body regimen likes the schedule I’m on. It’s like homework. If I don’t do it everyday there will be a problem.
Q: Do you have any rituals that you do or any music that you listen to before your games?
A: It happens kind of the whole week before I even jump. I start to picture exactly what I’m going to do and how I am going to jump so that when I get there, I know exactly how I will feel. I wear compression socks so my calves will stay warm. I also eat a certain way in the morning at 6 a.m and during the day at 11:15 a.m. I have a banana and apple for dinner and I have a salad or cereal for lunch. I have to go through a certain training regimen on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday is my jumping day. On Thursday and Friday I also have hard days. And then Saturday, I’ll rest before my meet. The Fridays before I jump or run, I have to eat a type of meat since I normally don’t find it necessary in my diet. So Friday I would eat fish or chicken or some type of protein. Then right before I jump, I picture myself going through my whole setup so I know exactly how I will jump, and I can do exactly what I dream of the night before.
Q: What is your most memorable moment of your Harvard-Westlake career?
A: I would say making the world team because it was a moment where I not only did my personal best, but I felt like this is the reason I train everyday. Like anyone getting into Stanford or Harvard, this was something I strived so long to get to. And that was a great feeling since it was a new experience, and it broke a lot of barriers even though people knew I was good. I trained so hard that making the world team felt like making the Olympic team.
Q: How was the change from freshman to junior year?
A: In ninth grade I was the underdog, so I always had to prove myself, but I had no pressure. I would go and beat all the seniors and surprise them. I felt like it was easier since I didn’t expect to do so well. And for me, I don’t think I was mentally ready for that. People would be happy that I got second in state, but for me, that was a failure because I didn’t deal with the mental game. Now I trained hard so you would think I would be better, but that’s not how track works, especially long jump, because you stay pretty constant. But fans don’t understand that. I now work smarter rather than harder since I know my body better than I did when I was a freshman. I only worry about my expectations and so far, it has worked well. I think it is better to focus on how I do, rather than how everyone else is going to do.
Q: What is the biggest sacrifice you have had to make for track?
A: I don’t think I really had to make any sacrifices. It helps me manage my time better during club soccer. I get home at 9 p.m. during soccer and during track, I get home at 7:30 p.m., but it taught me to manage my time. The only thing it did affect is my social life because instead of seeing friends or going to a party, I have to practice. But for me I find my social life in my sport because I feel like I can understand what the other people are going through and that they know what I am going through. It made me better. It made me a better athlete and better person overall and it lets me understand life better.