Story by Raymond Yeo
Photo by Helena Fu
Soft-spoken Tianhao Wei doesn’t want nor need to discuss of his accomplishments with others; his medals speak for themselves. The rising junior already boasts an abundance of accolades after just two years of competing on the varsity track and field team.
Wei developed his taste for success as a freshman after qualifying for CIF finals as the only first-year competitor. Motivated by his early success, Wei dedicated the summer before his sophomore year to becoming a more explosive athlete. His hard work would not go to waste, as Wei would proceed to break the school’s Triple Jump record with an astounding 47’06” jump at CIF Masters, while also placing fifth in CIF state finals and earning his spot as the top sophomore jumper the following spring.
Born in Shanghai, Wei and his family bounced back and forth between China and the US before settling down in South Pasadena the summer before Wei began fourth grade. Wei acknowledges that his ethnicity and upbringing helped fuel his desire to stand out.
“I felt that stereotypically Chinese people aren’t really seen as top notch athletes back in the homeland, and there is a heavier focus on academics,” Wei said. “But I was always the one who messed around outside playing soccer and racing my friends on the track.”
The Triple Jump and 100 meter sprint specialist was introduced to the world of running through his first passion: soccer. Wei began recreational soccer in kindergarten and joined his first club soccer team a few years after. This past winter, Wei earned a spot on the varsity soccer team in just his sophomore season, and contributed to the teams deep CIF run as a defender.
During his earlier years of soccer practice, Wei would consistently participate in the annual elementary school All City Track Meets along with the middle school track team before ultimately becoming an asset to SPHS Track & Field.
Wei has also surrounded himself with other successful athletes through friendships with Great Oak’s CJ Stevenson and Eastlake’s Jalyn Jackson, the 2017 and 2018 triple jump state champion and runner up. Of all people, however, Wei has developed his strongest sense of comradery with Jaylen Park through private practices, team dinners, and an inevitable friendly rivalry.
“Jaylen was like a big brother I didn’t have,” Wei said. “He would always bring snacks to practice and I would always steal them. But most importantly, he was always there to motivate me to run faster and jump further.”
Even though Wei has found much success, he is not the type to rest on his laurels. Wei’s industriousness, desire, and natural born athleticism will propel him to keep up his winning ways.