Five athletes reach Track and Field CIF Masters

Nathan Wang

The Boys Track and Field team placed fourth and the Girls Track and Field team placed eighth at the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Track and Field Finals May 13. Pole Vaulters Jessica Thompson ’23 and Sofia Rakfeldt ’25, Discus and Shot Put Thrower Jesse Goldman ’23 and Long Jumper Benson Fleischer ’23 qualified for the CIF Masters meet on May 20. 

Thompson, who achieved a new school record of 13 feet and one inch on the pole vault, said the journey to reaching her new personal record was mentally taxing.

“My main goal for this year was to break 13, so going into finals it was definitely on my mind,” Thompson said. “I mostly put pressure on myself [going into the meet] because I hadn’t [reached my goal] the entire year and was becoming increasingly frustrated with myself. So making that bar was like lifting a weight off my shoulder.”

Thompson said she advises younger pole vaulters to have patience with themselves and to persevere through any difficulties that they face.

“I would say that results take time and to not lose sight of your goals when things don’t go a certain way,” Thompson said. “It took me almost 3 years to learn to be patient with myself and allow myself to make mistakes within the sport, and that mindset is what ultimately [allowed me to be successful].”

Rakfeldt, who qualified for CIF Masters with a lifetime best of 11 feet and nine inches in pole vaulting, said it was a challenging season due to a foot injury but that she was determined to overcome adversity and achieve a personal record.

“​​This season was very challenging for me,” Rakfeldt said. “I had a broken foot throughout most of [this season] and wasn’t able to accomplish all that I had hoped to. Going into my jump my main thought was that I needed to clear this bar to prove to myself that I [could] do it.”

Rakfeldt said her goal for future seasons is to make continual improvements to her performance in pole vaulting. 

“A goal I have is not only about reaching a certain height but about improving in one way or another,” Rakfeldt said. “In a sport like pole vault where every meet ends with a miss, it is easy to get cauwght up in what you didn’t accomplish, what height you didn’t reach, but it is important to always enjoy the little victories that come your way.”

Fleischer qualified for CIF masters with 21 feet and 10.5 inches in the long jump. He said his mind becomes completely focused when he is competing in his event.

“Long jump is a type of [sport where] when you’re in the process of doing it, your mind kind of goes blank and you’re just running and two seconds later, you’re in the sand and you have no idea what went on,” Fleischer said.

Fleischer said continuous advice from his coach has helped him to reach his goals over the course of his high school career. 

“I feel like the track and field journey was one that was definitely more than one year,” Fleischer said. “Just trusting the process and listening to [Head Coach of Track and Field Jonas Koolsbergen’s] coaching points, as difficult as it may be sometimes [is what it took to achieve this distance].”