AHS High Jumping Reaches New Heights

Seniors Start the Season with Records and High Expectations

Caroline Lee

Staff Writer

   On Saturday, January 11, 2014, senior David Chukwu jumped a personal best of six feet nine inches at the Los Gatos All-Comers meet, moving him into third in the state of returnees and adding to AHS’s high jumping success.

    Chukwu placed second in last year’s North Coast Section Finals and just recently he and fellow jumper senior Ruthvik Sunilkumar, who missed out last season because of an injury, both qualified for the state indoor meet next month in Fresno.  With their personal records above six feet, both are close to reaching “Seventh Heaven” or the seven-foot mark.

    “I think that seven feet is in sight,” Sunilkumar said.  “We are working on technique and it’s just a matter of time.  Coach Gor believes I can do it and so do I.”

    Despite the fact that his jump beat his previous best, Chukwu admits that his six foot nine jump was just part of an ordinary day.

Senior Shanelle Swamy clears the bar while practicing at AHS.  All three senior high jumpers train together every day after school.  “My favorite thing about high jumping is the sense of accomplishment you get every time you make a height,” Swamy said.  “It's not easy to do but it feels good to know your time and dedication pays off.”  PC: Dean Gor
Senior Shanelle Swamy clears the bar while practicing at AHS. All three senior high jumpers train together every day after school. “My favorite thing about high jumping is the sense of accomplishment you get every time you make a height,” Swamy said. “It’s not easy to do but it feels good to know your time and dedication pays off.” PC: Dean Gor

  “I started at five-ten and I jumped six-nine on my first attempt,” Chukwu said.  “I don’t really have a set routine or ritual I follow on a day of a meet or anything.  I just do what I would do on a regular day. I visualize what my ideal jump would look like in my head over and over again, until my body adapts to it.  It really happened so fast, I was excited at the moment and a few hours after but I soon was already hungry for higher heights.”

    Although Chukwu currently has the highest record of the school’s current high jumpers, there is still a sense of trust and respect among the athletes and Mr. Gor, their coach and AHS health teacher.

    “Ruthvik is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to high jump,” Chukwu said.  “If it was not for him my freshman year I don’t think I would have stuck around to do it long. Ruthvik and also Coach Gor were there to keep me in the ring and push me forward and not give up. Without them I wouldn’t be jumping at all.”

    The feelings are mutual as Mr. Gor could not be prouder of his athletes’ success.

    “It is a pleasure to coach such a dedicated group of students and watch them blossom in front of our eyes,” Mr. Gor said.  “I find their dedication inspiring and motivating to me. They are very smart and they learn really fast. I have never encountered athletes at this age with such a competitive spirit who at the same time know how to keep competitiveness to competitions and be their normal selves afterwards.”

    AHS is not only competitive on the boys’ side of the event, as senior Shanelle Swamy finished second in last year’s MVAL Championships and qualified for NCS and MOC.

    “I hope to make it to the outdoor state meet and break the American High long jump and triple jump records,” Swamy said.

Senior David Chukwu competes at the Los Gatos All-Comers meet at Los Gatos High School.   Chukwu credits his father, his coach, and senior Ruthvik Sunilkumar for introducing him to the sport and encouraging him to continue it.  “I am feeling optimistic about this upcoming season,” Chukwu said. “I can only hope that I am able to break that 7-foot mark. I am excited and nervous.  I have many emotions that walk hand in hand with each other when it comes to jumping.”  PC: Dean Gor
Senior David Chukwu competes at the Los Gatos All-Comers meet at Los Gatos High School. Chukwu credits his father, his coach, and senior Ruthvik Sunilkumar for introducing him to the sport and encouraging him to continue it. “I am feeling optimistic about this upcoming season,” Chukwu said. “I can only hope that I am able to break that 7-foot mark. I am excited and nervous. I have many emotions that walk hand in hand with each other when it comes to jumping.” PC: Dean Gor

    Swamy will not be the only one staring at the AHS Track and Field record board this coming season though.

    “My goals for this year are to win both the indoor and outdoor state meets and break the school record in high jump,” Chukwu said.  “I am also working to get a scholarship to jump in college. In the future I would hope I could compete in the Olympics and become an Olympic and world champion.”

    The excitement of the moment and the sense of accomplishment they feel after successfully making their jumps is what keeps them motivated.

    “Right before I jump, I just stand there with my eyes closed, trying to visualize what I need to do in order to make this a successful jump,” Chukwu said.  “When I open my eyes, I look at the bar and pile up all my energy and just for it.  I cannot really tell you what happens once I start to move, its all a bit of a blur and just feeling.”

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