By Maya Williamson
Photo by Hana Tyszka
Senior Staff Photographer
While attending South Pasadena Middle School, the varsity boys’ cross country team captain Jaehyung Choi was actually more of a sprinter. The senior admits that he only joined cross country freshman year due constant encouragement from coaches like Mr.Hugasian and to get out of P.E. Despite this, he fell in love with the sport and the cross country family.
As one of the captains, Choi must stay positive all the time to keep the team excited through grueling workouts. He helps rally a squad of over 90 students in warmups and unity games. His hopes for this year are simple: to do well in league, to go far in CIF, and to lead the team well by example.
“It’s inspiring that he can maintain such a mentality of consistent hard work but then also be a really friendly and welcoming guy,” sophomore Finley Mullen said.
During the summer, cross country practices six times a week, waking up at 5:45, to run on five of those days. During the school year, he practices after school with the rest of the team for two to three hours, and often puts in extra hours afterwards doing strength training.
“He’s always the one to go the extra mile,” senior Kieran Press-Reynolds said, “literally.”
Choi loves many things about long distance running, such as how he can see multiple cities or enjoy the majestic scenery of the Arroyo. For him, running is a way to release stress and to relax even when he’s physically exhausted. Choi’s absolute favorite part about being on cross country however, is hanging out with friends. On “easy” days when they only run five miles, he loves bonding with team members by playing mind games and doing riddles while they jog. Though he’s not sure if he’ll do cross country competitively in college, he’s positive he’ll be running for the rest of his life.
On top of the busy schedule of cross country, Choi is a very well rounded student. He is most interested in math and science. During the summer he did an internship in a microbiology lab at USC, doing research under graduate students. Additionally, he is the president of the math and science clubs. Choi is also the drummer for The Frozen Gummies, a band he started with his friends, and he helps feed the homeless in skid row every sunday. He’s not really sure how he does it all, as time management is not something he says he excels at, but it’s no surprise to the people that know him best.
“[Choi] is incredibly dedicated to what he does, an excellent leader, and a great friend. Without him, the cross country team would be an entirely different place,” senior Owen Keith said.