By Tadzio Garcia
The freshman-laden track and field team began the 2013 campaign with some impressive showings at the Mt. San Antonio College Season Opener last Friday.
Sophomore Olivia Reyes won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase by running under 12 minutes for the first time in her Husky career.
She ran 11:34.80, outdistancing runner-up Rosa Lima of El Camino College by almost 1 1/2 minutes. Reyes returns to the team after a year’s layoff to focus on her studies.
Other veterans returning are Johana Ceja in long distance running, Armendariz Avanti and Aaron Williams.They will return to the team in the next meet for the Huskies at the Pasadena City College Relays on Friday, Feb. 22.
Ceja lead the 2010 cross country team to a 15th place finish at the then state finals upsetting several ranked teams in the process.
Avanti was ranked top-10 in the state in the long and triple jumps early season last year.
Williams was named to the All-South Coast Conference team as a freshman in the discus according to Head Coach Louis Ramirez.
A huge addition to the women’s team is long distance runner Megan Magdaleno who finished All-American last semester at the cross country state finals.
There are however, 36 freshmen on a team of forty. Additions from the football team could make this young team a state contender on the men’s side.
Other highlights at the Season Opener were Aaron Jasso, who took third overall against community college competition in the men’s 1500-meter run out of 27 runners.
East Los Angeles College also competed against university competition from Japan.
Jasso, as well as Oscar Jasso and Gonzalo Ceja debuts for the track and field team fresh off a 15th place at the cross country state finals last semester.Oscar Jasso took ninth place out of 33 runners in the 1,500-meter run while Ceja stunned his competitors by taking third in the men’s steeplechase.
Without most of the sophomores competing, both Husky teams struggled in their season opener against a field of mostly South Coast Conference rivals – Cerritos, Pasadena, El Camino and Long Beach City colleges, as well as host Mt. SAC.
The men’s team finished in the bottom half of each event in the sprints, hurdles and throws.
The women’s team did the same in all events except for standouts Lee Pee and Kattie Padilla. Padilla took sixth out of 16 sprinters in the 400-meter dash.
Pee began her Husky track and field career taking over where four-time All-American Shawnta Barnes left off, competing in multiple events.
Pee took fifth in the 100-meter dash, eighth in the long jump and third in the triple jump.
Barnes won All-American honors at East Los Angeles College in the 200-meter dash, the long jump, and two in the heptathlon in the last two seasons. She broke four ELAC records in the heptahlon, javelin, 100 and 200 dashes. She competes for Cal State Northridge.
The Huskies compete in one of the toughest conferences in the state. Mt. SAC and Cerritos took second place in the men’s and women’s state team finals last year.
Four SCC teams were top 20 in both the men’s and women’s finals. The ELAC women’s team placed 19th edging Moorpark and Butte Colleges by one point.