Boys’ track left behind in sub-par season

At the beginning of the spring season, North’s boys’ track and field team set two goals: to win the Mercer County Championship and to go undefeated.  North has missed both those targets.  Senior pole-vaulter Alan Wang called the season “a bit of a rough ride”: the team finished a disappointing seventh, out of fourteen schools, at counties, and its win-loss record is slightly worse than last year’s.  But despite this season’s setbacks, senior distance captain Sam Praveen said he is optimistic about the team’s future.  “If we go at it every day and do the best we possibly can, you really can’t ask for anything more,” Praveen said.

Junior Aathreya Thuppul, who finished fourth in the long jump at counties, said his teammates are pushing each other to improve.  “The inner-squad competition provides a lot of motivation for me,” he said.  “There may be a few grudges here and there, but in the end, it’s for our own good.”

Thuppul and senior hurdler Jamel Johnson represented North at the NJSIAA Groups competition, an advanced round of the state tournament, on May 20 in Egg Harbor Township.  Johnson said he attributes his success this season to the time he has spent carefully honing his hurdling technique and to the team’s emphasis on hard work and steady improvement.

At Groups, Johnson finished 15th in the 400-meter hurdles; Thuppul finished 21st in the long jump.  Neither athlete advanced to the State Meet of Champions, which will be held on June 4 in South Plainfield.

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