Islander duo jumps to success in track and field

Sophomores climb 3A state rankings.

Mercer Island High School sophomores Eloise Newman and Aaliyah Khan have jumped their way to success on the track and field scene this season and currently sit in lofty positions on the 3A state rankings list.

Newman owns the third spot in the 100-meter hurdles with a speedy time of 15.39, which she notched on April 6 at the Arcadia Invitational in California.

In the triple jump, Khan’s name is emblazoned at No. 3 with a stellar mark of 37-feet-2 inches, which she garnered on April 20 at the Oregon Relays in Eugene.

“I really like the rhythm of a hurdle and having something really technical to focus on,” said Newman, a former gymnast who took up cross country and then began focusing on hurdles at the end of eighth grade.

The hurdler, who set a personal record (PR) of 15.27 last season and hit a 15.71 at the recent Oregon Relays, is brimming with confidence that she can achieve some faster times in the upcoming weeks. Newman also displays her athleticism in the 300-meter hurdles, 100-meter race and a pair of relays.

“I’ve been doing more diverse workouts. Just try to get a better blanket over what I can accomplish,” she said.

Khan competes in both indoor and outdoor meets and amassed a PR of 37-7 in the triple jump during the recent indoor season. She also dips into the long jump realm and has PRs of 18-3 (recent indoor) and 17-10 (outdoor from last year) in her main event.

On finding her way to the jumps, Khan noted: “My brother (Azad) kind of got me into it really young. I just kind of followed him, being the younger sister. After that, I just started really liking it and I started to see there’s some potential here and I’d like to keep improving and see what I can do.”

She said it’s a surreal and cool experience to soar through the air, land in the sand pit and hear the judge call out a PR.

The Reporter asked Newman and Khan a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Newman: Definitely slow walkers. Aaliyah is actually one of them (both laugh). She’s really fast, but (not) when it comes to walking in the halls when people are walking really slow.

Khan: Maybe fast walkers (more laughter). Like, let me take my time.

What’s a binge-worthy TV series that you’re into?

Newman: Definitely “Gilmore Girls,” “New Girl” or “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

Khan: Right now, I’ve been really into “Suits.” I’ve been grinding that out. I’m going through it really quickly, so I would say it’s a very good show.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

Newman: I get a lot of good advice from my dad. He always tells me to make sure I’m enjoying the process and being OK with what I’m doing, so that if it doesn’t work out, I was still happy that I went through it and did it.

Khan: Everything happens for a reason. You might not understand it in the moment. Just trusting the process and trusting the work you put in. Everything in life, you might not see it right now — the vision, but there is a vision.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Newman: Noah Kahan, my favorite musician. My sister and I have been the biggest fans of him since she was like 12. We always go to his concerts together. My sister and I at a dinner with him would be probably the most fun dinner of our lives.

Khan: Drake. I listen to his music so much, I feel like I somewhat understand him. (They could discuss the meaning of his lyrics.)

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Newman: I would go “Good Will Hunting” or the “Dead Poets Society.”

Khan: The Harry Potter series. Probably the fourth one if I could pick one. I grew up watching it and reading all the books. I love ‘em.