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High School Sports

Season Interrupted: Newport Harbor’s Aidan Elbettar finds success after football

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Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Aidan Elbettar

School: Newport Harbor

Sport: Track and field, shot put/discus

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Key stats: Won Southern Section Division 2 shot put and discus in 2019 and started 2020 as the best in the state with marks of 63-8 and 200-8, respectively

Fall plans: Will attend UCLA

On the cancellation of the track season:

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“My season being interrupted really sucks, but I try to look forward without putting too much on it because it’s only going to bring me down, and I still have four years to go at UCLA.”

On starting the season with personal bests:

“I felt I could really start throwing farther and more efficiently, especially with how my training was going.”

At 6-feet-8, 310 pounds, why he gave up football:

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“It was the injury risk. I really enjoy track and field more than football. I decided since I’m a big guy and on the line, they were going to be going for my legs. ... I didn’t want to risk hurting my knees playing football.”

On training without a practice facility:

“I’m doing drills on a sidewalk or a pavement. You can’t exactly throw because you don’t want to break a window. ... I lift for about an hour a day.”

On how the sports stoppage has changed him:

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“It has made me re-look at what I have around me and what I didn’t value before. I didn’t really value having the time outside [throwing]. Now I’ve realized how much closer I can be with my family.”

Culver City baseball standout Joaquin Hines, who is planning to attend Fresno State, wants to be a role model for black ballplayers.

Where he sees himself in 10 years:

“I’d like to continue throwing ... but my goal in life is to be a firefighter.”

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On the lessons he and his 2020 classmates learned:

“We learned to be patient. Looking at this, we don’t have an exact time we’re going to be starting again. Remember your focus and remember goals because if you forget now you won’t be able to achieve it later.”

Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.


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