Athlete Feature: Deanna Chen

Ziming (Sarah) Wang, Staff Writer

In the hopes of improving her stamina and staying active throughout the school year, junior Deanna Chen joined the Arcadia High School (AHS) Varsity Track team and quickly grew to enjoy the sport through her experiences on the team over the past few years. With track season coming up, Chen is determined to reach even greater heights with her personal skills along with her teammates.

“I’m always striving to beat my own time. Chasing the best version of myself could also help my team stay competitive and strive for improvement as well,” said Chen.

Track is a sport that mainly competes in cardiovascular activities such as running, jumping, and throwing. According to Chen, track meets usually involve multiple schools competing together, each having a certain number of athletes competing.

Sprinting events have “heats”, which stand for the number of people in the event, and there are usually nine people who race against each other in every “heat”. Other events, like jumping and throwing, often happen simultaneously. Players can participate in a maximum of 4 events, and the points earned by each player adds up to build the school’s final score. This regulation is extremely competitive, as only the top few places within each heat can earn points for their school.

Last year, Chen and her team were able to win the San Gabriel Valley Championships and placed 1st in their league. Chen was able to achieve 1st place along with her friend Tatinana Sarkis in the high jump event, she scored 4ft 10 inches and qualified for the first round of CIF.

“I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me, “and I’m looking forward to how far we can make it in CIF,” said Chen. 

Because of track and field’s competitiveness, Chen and her teammates have intense training, which started early in the first semester. Other than daily sprinting and jumping practice, Chen also boosts her skills in the weight room by improving muscle strength. The team hosts “pre-meets” before competitions, which involves two laps around the field, multiple warm up drills, and 10 times 100m strides for good measure.

Since track mainly focuses on individual performance, Chen claims to have a tendency to “compare [herself] with the scores others will get.” 

“But now I’ve learned to value my personal records and base my performance by comparing me only to myself. I’ve always liked the philosophy of trying your best and staying optimistic. I like to push myself to see what else I have in me, and I think that a great mindset always guides a great performance,” said Chen. “Luckily our team is very supportive and always encourages each other to try our best.”

With dedicated players like Chen, the AHS Track team will surely accomplish great things this year. Best of luck to these hard-working athletes in their upcoming season!

Photo by Ainsley Najafzadeh