February 1, 2022
While senior Alyssa Meng’s relay-racing team may have its quirks, including kowtowing to apologize or being so spirited that their fights and casual conversations can seem indistinguishable, Meng wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Sometimes before a race when we’re nervous, all four of us just hold hands and jump in a circle,” Meng said. “We look silly, but we all look silly together.”
After six exceptional seasons, Meng will attend New York University in the fall as a track and field athlete and a political science major. However, her journey to recruitment wasn’t easy.
Meng started her track career in middle school, joining the track and field team as a sixth grader. She didn’t particularly enjoy spriting in the beginning, but she soon found a close-knit community that pushed her to continue.
“The track community is like my second family,” Meng said. “I carried on because of the people, since I knew that at the end of the day, they would support me no matter what.”
Meng was thrilled when she made the varsity track team as a freshman, but she was also anxious due to the expectations set upon her. This pressure resulted in mental blocks that persisted throughout her underclassman years, but during quarantine in her junior year, Meng was able to reflect on track and field and what the sport meant to her.
“I improved over junior year because I changed my mindset,” Meng said. “My proudest achievement was overcoming my anxiety; instead of racing for time, I focused on just finishing the race, finishing it strong and being around people I enjoy spending time with.”
It was also during this time that she started to consider track and field recruitment, emailing different coaches and universities to set up interviews. She finally landed on NYU, her dream college, and after an online meeting, she flew to New York to sit down with the university’s coach in person. When she eventually received her acceptance letter, Meng and all her friends, family and teammates were incredibly happy.
“I remember that when I got my acceptance letter, I texted my best friend Jodi,” Meng said. “She immediately came to my house and picked me up to go eat, reminiscing about our paths and how much we’ve seen each other grow.”
When Meng thinks about track and field, community is the first word which comes to mind. She is inspired by her teammates, seniors Claire Wang, Alison Tjoe and Vanessa Su, who have been by her side throughout high school track and field. Meng also values those outside the team who have supported her, especially her parents.
“My parents serve as inspiration, not necessarily in an athletic sense,” Meng said. “But I think that their ambitions and work ethic definitely translate into how I do track.”
Meng is incredibly thankful and acknowledges the prominent role the sport plays in her life, and she similarly advises other students to consider their own passions.
“The college process is different for everyone, and there isn’t a certain template of how a college application goes,” Meng said. “There’s something unique about everyone, and you just have to find your uniqueness and use it as an opportunity.”