Co-Captain Jaeyong Shim ’23 Leads With Charisma

Outdoor Track and Field Co-Captain Jaeyong Shim ’23 serves as an anchor in bringing the team together. With a large portion of the student body participating in Outdoor Track and Field, Shim has captured the support in fostering a more inclusive community. Through his work ethic and diligence, he serves as an inspiration to many. 

In middle school, Shim’s basketball coach encouraged him to join the school’s track team. Shim elaborated that Covid-19 put a halt on his track career until Upper Winter, when he ultimately chose track over tennis. 

Shim said, “[My] track career bloomed [in high school]. I think my passion for track mostly comes more from the team aspect of it. It’s not like I’m a crazy athlete, or anything, but the reason why I’m sticking to the sport is because of the team and the culture about it. It’s great to be a captain, it’s great to lead this great team with over 140 kids. And I’m really excited about our last season.”

According to Josh Lee ’24, Shim’s charisma and enthusiasm make him a reliable teammate. Lee recalled his races where Shim always cheered him on, serving as a motivation to the members. 

“I think he’s one of the most standout people on the team in terms of camaraderie and morale. He always shows up to me [with a] big smile, big energy, which is kind of what you need on those days. Like during my race, whenever I race, I’d be able to pick him out among the yelling and all the chaos, cheering me on. And I think you need that with a kind of a sport like track,” said Lee.

Shim primarily does long jumps, sprints, and hurdles. Charlie Benjamin ’23 admired his drive in showing growth within a season of doing outdoor track. Both on and off the track, Shim’s hard work inspires his teammates. 

“Beyond his infectious attitude, I think he’s a really hard worker. And I know him somewhat outside of track, and I always see him in a library grinding. And the way that carries over to the track is his long jump performance. I think you’ve seen vast improvements since last year. And he went from just joining track to being one of the stars through his work ethic,” said Benjamin. 

As one of Shim’s close friends, Andy Xu ’24 praised his willingness to share knowledge and help his teammates. Xu first met Shim at a math competition and asked him to train together both because of his optimistic attitude as well as his speed. 

Xu said, “[When I first met him,] I noticed his bubbly personality and I think I really started to click with him. And during the summer I asked him whether he wanted to train with me [for] track… I think the first [reason] is because he’s definitely one of the fastest sprinters on the team. And I think he definitely knows a lot about track considering his extensive experience. And the second reason is, because obviously, I found him to be a very good person to be around, and I felt that would be really good for my training.”

Benjamin noted Shim’s dedication to the team after an injury last year. Despite the incident, Shim still cheered on the team while working to return.

“He got injured. He jumped and his spikes tore open his leg. And he still has a massive scar on his leg that you can see, but he got it fixed up, and he got back to training hard at practice very soon after. I think just the tenacity is more than impressive,” said Benjamin. 

As the Indoor Track and Field season ended, Xu fulfilled a team tradition, giving Shim a senior speech. He spoke on his commitment to the team, which served as his inspiration for doing track.

Xu said, “At the end of the season, last term, I gave him his senior speech, which is kind of a tradition that we do at the end of seasons, where we give a nice little speech to our Seniors to send them off and thank them for their efforts. And I felt like Jaeyong was such a big inspiration for me, he’s honestly one of my best friends on the team… And not only his leadership [but] we’re great friends off the track too and I’m just really going to miss it when he goes to college.”

After becoming a captain, Shim started to collaborate with others to make reforms to the team culture.

He said, “There was stuff we could have definitely worked on. So over the Summer Break, the other captains and I liked to talk to each other and coaches about how we can kind of build a better atmosphere, build a better team, build a better community, so that was like our main goal.”

Adding on, Shim credited Head Coach Keri Lambert for instilling the reformed team values during the Indoor Track and Field season. He hopes to continue making the Outdoor Track and Field team more accessible to people with a variety of experience levels. 

Shim said, “Over the Indoor [Track and Field] season, we really saw that the coaches really came out to us. And we [have] seen a great improvement in younger students feeling really welcomed on the team. And because it’s such a divided sport naturally, just that we are so much more unified. And I think the coaches and Dr. Lambert especially was the anchor of that entire thing…and we’re trying to continue that for Outdoor [Track and Field] and even make it better from our Indoor [Track and Field] season.”