The weekend was a bit busy for Anne Wong.
On Thursday, the Sacred Hearts junior and her track and field team flew to Maui for the Victorino Ohana meet at War Memorial Stadium. Her time in the trials of the 300-meter hurdles was 47.44 seconds, good enough to qualify for the finals.
It was the best time of her career, which began just one year ago. She had posted a 49.75 at Kamehameha on Mar. 9, a 50.00 at the Martinson and Lee Invitational (Punahou) on Mar. 16. and a 48.72 at the Cal Track/Ruby Tuesday Invitational on Mar. 23.
“I’ve been improving my time in each meet, getting comfortable. I still get nervous, but I try to improve each time,” Wong said.
On Friday, she broke the meet record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.41 seconds.
“My coach had a hand time of 45, then they announced the 46 and said set a new meet record. I said, ‘Cool!’ The wind helped a lot. We were mostly running with the wind. I don’t know if I would’ve gotten that time here on Oahu,” said Wong, who also placed third in the 100 hurdles and 200 dash.
Her time in the 100 hurdles was 18.6 in the trials, another PR. Her trials effort in the 200 dash was 27.21, yet another PR.
“For the 100 hurdles me and two other girls were really close, neck to neck. The 300, it was really staggered,” Wong said.
Coach Dave Panther sees plenty of potential in Wong, who already has the second-best 300 hurdles time in the state this year.
“I’m not surprised at all. She’s worked incredibly hard all season and in the offseason. The sky’s the limit for Anne,” Panther said. “I couldn’t be happier with her progress. Her times keep dropping and I think they will continue to do so through the rest of the season.
The amazing development has been almost magical for Wong, who never tried track and field until last year as a sophomore.
“The first time I ran it, I fell,” she said.
On Friday night, the Lancers returned home with plenty of time to prepare for junior prom. Wong feels lucky that the Victorino Ohana meet was done by Friday.
“Oh gosh, if it was on Saturday, it would’ve been hard. I would’ve chosen the meet over the prom. If I had to skip it, I’d still have senior prom (next year),” she said. “Prom was fun. I would say they were both equally fun, fun but in different ways. One is a runner’s high fun, and the other is just having a good time.”
Rewind back and it’s possible Wong would never had tried the sport without some encouragement. She played basketball long before she put on cleats.
“I wanted to do it before in freshman year, but I got scared and said, ‘nah I don’t want to do it.’ Then I tried. To be honest, I don’t even like running. I asked myself, why am I doing this? That’s why I tried hurdles, at least there’s a purpose. I wanted to see if I could jump over things and be with my friends. They kind of pushed me to do it, too,” she said. “I’m pretty sure they’re surprised I’m getting these awards and titles. And I don’t know how. Most of my friends have been doing this longer than me.”
Wong is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and doesn’t know of anyone in her family with a history on the track.
“My parents are both pretty short. I get my height from my dad’s dad. I don’t know his name,” she said. “I feel like I’m the first one to do track in my family.”
Success in the hurdles has slightly altered her vision of the future.
“My goal now is to get college offers for track, to help pay for college and I can run at the same time. I know I’m probably not going to get one for basketball,” Wong said.
The Lancers’ next competition will be in the ILH meet at Punahou on Saturday.