By Tadzio Garcia
All-American and freshman Laura Aceves won first place in the women’s 10,000-meter run at the 2014 SoCal Southern California Regional Trials and Championships May 3 at Riverside City College.
It is ELAC’s first-ever women’s gold medal in the event at the SoCal finals since the event was added to California Community College Athletic Association track and field team competition in 1995.
“The race is not about time. Laura needed only to place at least sixth to qualify for the state finals in the event. She ran a tactical race, with her kick helping her to win,” ELAC Assistant Coach David Loera said.
Aceves picked up her speed in the last mile and ran alone to the finish line, finishing 16 seconds faster than her nearest competitors.
After two of 18 women’s events completed, ELAC was tied for third place in the team standings with 10 points behind College of the Canyons and host Riverside.
The ELAC men’s team is currently tied for seventh the place with El Camino College, both with four points apiece, behind leader Orange Coast College (20).
Sophomore Gonzalo Ceja won sixth place in the men’s 10,000 run and advanced, along with Aceves, to the state finals May 17 and 18 at Mt. San Antonio College.
Teammate Daniel Zaragoza took eighth place while Kris Chacon finished in the No. 16 spot. Zaragoza waits to see if he qualifies for the state finals.
He ran an “A” standard time earlier in the season and “has a good chance to qualify pending Northern California 10,000 results,” Louis Ramirez, ELAC track and filed head coach, said.
Aceves and Ceja will compete in the 5,000-meter and 3,000-meter steeplechase runs at SoCal finals this Saturday in Riverside. Zaragoza joins Ceja in the men’s 5,000 run.
Aceves took second place in the steeplechase prelims, while Ceja won his prelims heat in the steeplechase at the SoCal prelims. “I didn’t need to win in the steeplechase since it was a qualifying race,” Aceves said.
In the 5,000 run, Ceja and Zaragoza will compete in the SoCal finals for a chance to move on to the state finals.
“For the fourth consecutive year ELAC has a chance to qualify for the state finals in a hurdles event,” Loera said.
Freshman Jorge Romo advanced to the finals in the 400-meter hurdles, placing fifth in the prelims with a personal record. “He runs hesitant in the event, but can advance to state if he drops a half-second off his time,” Loera said.
Romo ran back-and-forth between events as a multiple qualifier. He took 15th place in the long jump, missing out qualifying to the SoCal finals by 1.25 inches. He was disqualified in the 100-meter high hurdles for an inadvertent leaning fall at the start of the race.
“He was probably thinking about the long jump, which was just about to begin,” Loera said. Romo took 14th place in the decathlon.
The men’s 4×400 relay team did not compete because Adrian Gaytan was a no-show. Sophomore Adriann Crespo finished her ELAC track and field career a two-time SoCal semifinalist in the hammer throw.
In the steeplechase, Cris Flores and Viridiana Hernandez, as well as Luis Hernandez in the 110-meter hurdles all ended their first season with the team as SoCal semifinalists.