FIRST AT LAST—ELAC’s Shawnta Barnes (center) wins the first Husky title at the SoCal finals in 13 years by edging Chiza Eze (right of Barnes) of LA Valley College last Saturday at San Diego Mesa College. CN/Tadzio Garcia
By Denise Orozco and Tadzio Garcia
The women’s track and field team stamped their ticket to the state finals with a stellar performance by All-American Shawnta Barnes at the SoCal finals at San Diego Mesa College, last Saturday.
The women’s team placed 10th overall at SoCal with 36 points, all of which Barnes scored. It was the first time in well over a decade that the Huskies finished as a top-ten team at SoCal.
Barnes scored more points than any other athlete, both male or female, at both the 2012 Northern and Southern California Championships.
The Huskies stunned the No. 7-ranked women’s team in the state, Cuesta College, who scored 29 points.
East Los Angeles College also upset the No. 9-ranked team in the state in Orange Coast College. The Pirates scored 22 points.
The Huskies almost upset Mt. San Antonio College, the South Coast Conference champion. ELAC had a half point lead over the Mounties entering the final event of the day, the 4 x 400 relay.
Mt. SAC took fourth place in that event to avoid a major upset at the hands of the Huskies and placed No. 8 overall.
Barnes ran a personal record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.87 to win the event.
“Barnes is the first Husky to become a SoCal champion since Adreana Cano in 1999,” said Head Coach Louis Ramirez.
The Huskies qualified to the state finals in five events—the 100 dash, heptathlon, long jump, javelin and 200-meter dash—all from Barnes.
Barnes advances out of SoCal in five of the six events she competed in.
Raquel “Bianca” Acosta and Barnes both competed in the javelin throw. Acosta finished her season with a 10th place finish at SoCal with a throw of 29.07 meters.
It was the second year that Acosta had advanced to the SoCal Championships in the javelin.
Barnes won second place in the heptathlon, third place in the 200 dash, third place in the long jump, took fifth in the javelin and seventh place in the 200-meter hurdles.
“I’ve been working hard and it feels good. I just want to keep working hard to get better times and marks,” said Barnes.
“We will work on her technical events for the heptathlon and work on maintaining her speed,” said Ramirez.
With one week left in the season, Barnes and Ramirez strive to finish in championship form and bring home a state title.
The state finals will be held next Friday and Saturday at Cerritos College, all day.