Coming from Hungary to America with many years of track and field experience under her belt, Tundi Lippai is looked up to by many on the track team as a leader, even if she doesn’t see it that way.
Lippai got into track at the age of 9 and has loved it ever since. “When I do high jump I feel like I am flying through the air, and when I do hurdles I feel fast. It gives me excitement and happiness when I do those events, which is why I love this sport.” It is this emotion that drives her passion for the sport. When she trains she wants to do everything in her power to do the hardest workouts and go the extra mile, whether that be doing one more rep, or doing ab workouts after every practice. These qualities caused her to become a leader of the Cassville-Potosi track team even though she doesn’t think she is. “In Hungary, track is a bit different, so this feeling is a bit foreign to me and I don’t feel like I need to lead the team when there are others who are more used to how track works over here.” She misses the way Hungry organized and developed track athletes; she feels the competition is more serious in some ways back home.
In Hungary, track is a club sport, so it’s not sponsored by the school. If students wanted to play a particular sport, they would have to go to a club and try out. She mentioned that, “Track is a lot more serious in Hungary and coaches work with you one on one to help you improve. We would have six practices during the week which are about two hours each. Track clubs are located in the bigger cities, so you would have to travel to those bigger cities if you live farther away.” Hungarian track is more serious than American track because you have to be very dedicated and spend a lot of time doing it. Track here in America is much more relaxed. People are more approachable and very nice when you talk to them. This is one aspect of track in America that Tundi enjoys because she is having so much fun. This also reflects her leadership values because she works so hard to get better and improve, but she still is very enthusiastic every practice. Her passion and emotion towards the sport isn’t just showing how good of a leader she is, but how well she is doing at the meets.
She has gotten a top ten state time at her most recent meet on April 11th at North Crawford with a time of 17.15 seconds. If she keeps her times consistent throughout the season, she could be a state competitor and could attract the eyes of college scouts. That could be a huge opportunity for her because it’s her first year in America and sge is already getting scholarship offers to do the sport she loves and is passionate about in college. She explained, “I wish I could, but I wouldn’t have time to do sports and go to college at the same time over in Hungary.” Even though she has no plans on pursuing track after high school, or even staying in America, it could be a great opportunity for her to look into later in the season.
Tundi has been a big inspiration on our track team, bringing enthusiasm and excitement to every practice no matter what weather we had that day or where the meet was. She has brought experience and leadership to a team that has very little to virtually none. Even if she doesn’t continue her track career after high school, her passion for the sport will never die.