Track ready to take off


By Linus Hartigan and Madison Luka

After Hoover High School’s eventful semester of Cross Country, many runners are getting ready to kick off the Track & Field season. 

Hoover’s track team will have about 20 returning runners, and 15 new ones.

“Our main goal for this season,” says Jack Sallakian, head coach of the Hoover track & field team, “is to have our returning athletes perform just as well, if not better than they did last year.” 

Several returning athletes have the potential to make CIF, especially the girls.

According to Sallakian, “that should be their main thing to look forward to.”

In addition, Sallakian is hoping to continue the tradition of Hoover finishing in the top three in the shot put league.

The new athletes, on the other hand, are still getting used to running track. “It’s for them to enjoy it, to have fun, and to build the strength and love for track and field.” 

While returning runners will be pushed to beat their times and perform, new runners still need to find their niche and learn the techniques that they will need to compete.

That doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy.

According to runner Aidan Herbulot, “It hurts. Your legs are kind of shot if you really ran hard, especially if you’re doing hills.” 

Herbulot previously hasn’t participated in track & field, but he experienced sprint workouts while running for the Hoover cross country team in the fall.

“I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing sprints,” Herbulot tells, “When you sprint, you get this thrill where everything just flies by. Sprint workouts are really fun, because they’re short. You really push yourself and then it’s over. During a long distance workout, I’m running for 90 minutes, man, I could be playing Elden Ring.”

The last couple of years of COVID restrictions have changed the experience of Hoover Track & Field.

In 2020, 2021, and 2022, the numbers and performance were “really low.”

According to Sallakian, this year the numbers are looking to be back up to normal, with around 40 athletes practicing together.

This is why it’s so exciting that track season is back. While other running sports like cross country are only one kind of race (three-miler), track and field is a culmination of many different events, each with their own necessary skill set. 

“I look forward just as much to watching our athletes jump, throw a discus, throw a shot put, or high jump,” adds Sallakian, “They’re all very exciting. It keeps the coaches on our toes, and makes the season go by so fast.”

Hopefully, Hoover will be able to see the outcomes that they are working towards, and make it as far as they deserve.