Athletes continue preparing for their sports next year

Students focus on improving sports performance at home

Jayanti Jha

With shelter-in-place restrictions opening up students’ schedules, many have turned to picking up a new hobby, learning something new or baking their favorite treats. However, for some MVHS athletes, the extra time is invested toward staying fit for their sport seasons next year. Freshman Hayden Ancheta, for example, is using this time to build up his endurance and strength to meet his goals in wrestling next year.

Anish Vasudevan
Ancheta wrestled for the MVHS wrestling team last winter.

“[I work out] mainly to stay fit because, especially now in quarantine, a lot of athletes and a lot of other people are just going to start slacking off,” Ancheta said. “I feel like [the time right now] is considered an off season — that’s when a lot of people start slacking off. In my mind, this is the time that we should start building up so we can get ahead and an edge on our opponents.”

Ancheta runs three miles six days a week, followed by upper body or leg workouts. Senior Triya Roy, who runs distance on the varsity track team, follows a similar training plan that includes tempo workouts, hill repeats and long runs six days a week given by her track coach in preparation to run at Johns Hopkins University next year. 

While these training plans are rigorous, Roy motivates herself to stay active by reminding herself why she loves to run: being able to enjoy nature while also improving.

“I really love to run, because I love being outside and pushing myself, and it’s really satisfying when you finish a hard workout and you know you gave it your all,” Roy said. “That’s why I like to run, because it just makes me feel happy, and it’s just nice to accomplish something. I love being outside and in the trails and in nature, because that’s super relaxing to me.”

Roy also uses the health benefits of running to motivate herself to stay active and healthy. She also notices that communicating with her teammates like she would in a typical track season helps her keep going and push herself.

“It definitely is hard sometimes in the morning to get up and go running, because it’s really easy to lay in bed,” Roy said. “The hardest part is just getting up and getting outside, because once you’re running, you’ll feel so much better. But other than that, our team is super supportive and we’re all super connected, like every Friday we have a team Zoom call, organized by our coach. So that helps us stay connected and motivated, so it’s nice knowing that all of my teammates are going through the same thing.”

While Roy’s motivation comes partly from her teammates, Ancheta’s main source of motivation comes from his determination to excel during next year’s wrestling season. 

Photo used with permission of Ashley Twu
Sophomore Ashley Twu played on the varsity field hockey team last fall.

“I feel like what motivates me is definitely all the goals I set for [wrestling],” Ancheta said. “Especially my freshman season, it really showed me that I have to put in a lot more effort, even though I was already putting in a lot of effort to achieve those goals that I have in mind. And to do that, I have to be on the grind 24/7. That’s why I’m running and working out every single day — even [though we’re in quarantine] I’m doing it, and I’m not going to take a break.”

Sophomore Ashley Twu, who is on the varsity field hockey team, is focused on preparing for next year’s field hockey season. She works on her strength by performing exercises such as plank twists and squats to target specific muscles. To improve her speed and endurance, she runs at least three times a week. Twu shares that while she does similar exercises repeatedly, she makes sure to increase the intensity to build up her strength.

“The first few times you [exercise], it’s definitely challenging, but then over time, you’re like, ‘Oh this is easier,’ so then you increase the amount of reps you do or the amount of sets you do,” Twu said, “And then you also pay really close attention to how well you’re doing them — it’s always quality over quantity.”

The spring is usually Twu’s club season at San Jose Fly. A couple weeks into quarantine, she decided to start exercising at a level similar to that of a typical club season, which has benefited her mental health.

“I’ve gotten less sad,” Twu said. “The first two weeks of quarantine, I definitely did not exercise, because I’m so used to just having a spring season that keeps me in shape. I was like, ‘I need to stay fit [because] I was not doing so well.’ So I think exercising just made me happier because it brought me back to the idea that I’m still exercising and staying fit for a sport I love.”

While Twu feels that working out has given her an outlet to improve her mental health, maintain a positive outlook and add a routine to her day, Ancheta believes exercise instills in him a stronger mentality towards wrestling and working out in general.

Elena Khan
Senior Triya Roy is part of the varsity track team and participated in the Rustbuster Invitational Track Meet in March.

“Getting out of bed and going on a three mile run every day is really repetitive, and your mind tells you, ‘Well, no you don’t want to do this every single day,’” Ancheta said. “Especially [during] quarantine, it’s just a lot of work since everyone’s waking up so late. But [if] you can tell your mind to do something, it will do it. If you tell your mind you’re going to go out on that run, you will go out on that run.”

After noticing the positive impact exercising had on his mindset, Ancheta encourages others to get active and points out that “there are no downsides to working out.” Similarly, Roy emphasizes the satisfaction she finds after a workout and also hopes that others will also consider going outside and being active in whatever way that may be.

“You don’t need to run every single day or anything, but I think the most important thing is just getting outside and just walking around,” Roy said. “The motion of just getting ready to get out and work out is the hardest part and once you’re doing it, you won’t feel unmotivated since you’ll want to finish it and complete it — you start releasing endorphins and you start sweating, and it feels good to know that you’re being productive and doing something.”