The Apache Pow Wow

Athlete Feature: Nikki Wong

Jasmine Oang, Writer

Junior Nikki Wong competed in her first CIF race last school year as a member of one of the Girls Varsity Track and Field team’s 4 x 400m relay teams. An accomplished student and dedicated athlete, Nikki’s passion for running has only grown with every race.

When I asked about her experience competing in the CIF Southern Section Finals last May, Nikki quickly remembered the “nerve-racking and super intimidating” environment. One of the younger members of both her relay team and the Varsity team, Nikki is undoubtedly a skilled racer— racing alongside teammates junior Kira Graves, senior Jillian Taylor, and alumna Lauren Buehner. However, when competing against some of the state’s fastest, the pressure is incomparable to the other races of the season, especially league races. No worries, Nikki survived her first CIF race and noted, “I realized that I am able to run against girls of a higher caliber and that has pushed me to train harder,” adding, “Now, I go into races feeling confident and my goals have gotten even bigger”. One of those goals is tackling three AP classes and one honors course while managing Cross Country and Track.

For Nikki and her teammates, a typical school practice usually consists of running in the Arcadia County Park or at the track both in the morning and the afternoon. However, the work doesn’t end there because on weekends, the team will travel to races, but “if [they] don’t have a race on Saturday, then there’s a long run” and “shake out runs” on Sundays. These dedicated Apaches usually run “around seven miles every afternoon” and some even dedicate their summers to training with O’Brien’s Army, Nikki being one of the members the summer before her sophomore year.

As for managing her ambitious schedule and still maintaining her energetic and cheery personality, Nikki revealed that she “[tends] to do [her] homework during class sometimes when [she] has time” for efficiency. In addition, she doesn’t see running as a task on a checklist but rather as an escape since “running helps [her] relieve stress”—an important factor when balancing a busy schedule. Of course, there is also her favorite thing about the team: “the camaraderie.” As a result of “how close [they] all are,” Nikki has made some strong friendships throughout the team and built a great support system. With all of this in mind, Nikki isn’t too worried about this year.

Thank you, Nikki, for sharing your experiences and good luck this season!

Photo by CHRISTIE WANG

 

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Athlete Feature: Nikki Wong