Team hurdles over the competition

TRACK AND FIELD Off to a strong start, the team has put last year’s struggles behind them.



Senior Ryan Vargas practices his shotput in preparation for their final meet.

Brian Chang, News Editor

After ending last season squarely in last place, the Diamond Bar High School track and field team is off to a blistering start, with the boys side winning its first two league matches before stumbling against the Ayala Bulldogs.

“The boys team has really improved since last year,” head coach Malinalli Cooke said. “We’re doing way better than we were last year. We never came close to winning any meets.”

The boys closed out victories against Glendora and Bonita by 10 points and four points, respectively, while the girls dropped both meets. However, neither side was able to stand up to Ayala, with the boys losing 108-28 and the girls falling 109-27. Cooke said she expected the loss, as Ayala and Claremont are the best two teams in league.

Cooke attributes the team’s initial success to more consistent coaching. The events with full-time coaches have been doing significantly better, with Cooke citing the long jump and triple jump teams as ones that have improved in leaps and bounds. As Cooke heads into her second year at the helm, she has also made some changes to the composition of the team.  

“I also made a concerted effort this year to make sure the kids who joined the team were actually there to do track, and not just there to get out of P.E. or conditioning,” Cooke said. “Track especially, has been treated so long as a dumping ground for kids who don’t want to do anything else, so it’s just changing that mindset.”

Senior Clara Ru agreed with Cooke, citing returning coaches and more organization as strengths of the team.

“We’re doing a lot better. Out of the four years that I’ve ran, this is maybe our best team,” Ru said. “It’s definitely a lot more organized. The coaches are more experienced, because they’ve had one year to iron out mistakes. The team is a lot more condensed too, so the coaches know exactly what kind of runners they want.”

Both Cooke and Ru indicated that mentality was the biggest hurdle for the team. Compared to other schools like Ayala and Claremont, who have historically had strong teams, Cooke said it is difficult to recruit talented runners, as track in general is not seen as a major sport at DBHS.

Cooke expects at least one more loss on the team’s record before the end of the season, as they will be racing Claremont for their final home meet of the season this week.