A cover girl on the 2000 spring edition of American Track & Field, Victoria Chang ’00 Nakayama was the face of Hawai‘i high school cross country and track in the late 1990s through 2000. She won eight state titles, doubling up at 1,500-, 1,600-, 3,000- and 3,200-meters, and set state records as a senior at 1,500 and 3,000. Her 3,000 record was the fastest time in the country at the time and remains the state record today.
By the time she entered Stanford as a freshman in 2000, Chang had a resumé that matched, and often surpassed, that of any star runner of her era. Most impressive is that Chang never lost a high school race in the 1,500 or 3,000 during her four years. While her state meet mark in the 3,000 has been bested, she still holds the 1,500 record which she set at the 1999 Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship.
“The kid’s unreal,” veteran track and field writer Doug Speck said in 1999 after Chang shattered her national best by 18 seconds when winning the 3,000 at the state meet.
The surreal continued to be the norm – locally and nationally. As were the awards: Hawai‘i High School Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year (1999, 2000); Track & Field News High School All-American; 1999 USA Track & Field Junior All-American; Gatorade Circle of Champions; NHSCA National High School Athlete of the Year for girls cross country.
The honors piled up at Punahou as well. Twice, she was named the outstanding female performer at the Punahou Relays. She received the Billy Weaver ’62 Award her freshman year, the C. Dudley Pratt Award as the senior athlete of the year and the female scholar-athlete for the Class of 2000.
As a freshman at Stanford, she was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year and helped lead the Cardinal to the conference title. Chang transferred to the University of Hawai‘i, was the top Wahine finisher in all seven races in which she competed, winning two, and qualified for the 2002 NCAA cross country championships.
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