By Tadzio Garcia
Shawnta (Shawn-Tay) Barnes will be advancing to the state championships in the heptathlon after overcoming one of her fears in the event to place second at the SoCal Heptathlon Championships, Tuesday, April 10 at Cerritos College in the first qualifying postseason meet of the year.
When asked what difficulties Barnes had with the heptathlon Barnes said, “The 800 run, that’s all.” In previous 800 races this season and last, Barnes finished near the bottom of the pack.
Barnes was in third place in the heptathlon entering the final two events, the javelin throw and the 800-meter run. Shanice Stewart of San Bernardino Valley College was in second place.
Barnes took over second place in the heptathlon after a javelin throw that gave her 603 points to Stewart’s 384 points. Barnes had to overcome her 800 run fears to place ahead of Stewart.
Barnes ran the 800 of her life placing seventh out of 24, outdistancing Stewart for second place in the heptathlon.
Golden West’s Jaci Powell, the undefeated state leader in the heptathlon for two years, was the hands-on favorite to win the event. Powell proved the critics right and won the SoCal heptathlon crown with 5,024 points.
Barnes scored 4,801 total points while Stewart scored 4,605 to take third place. “Shawnta broke the school record while scoring 4,801 points,” said Head Coach Louis Ramirez, a feat she did earlier in the year in the javelin.
Fourth through sixth places in the heptathlon were won by Sharica Pleasant (El Camino College Compton Center), T’Keyah Gray (Mt. SAC) and Jacqueline Keeley (College of the Canyons).
The top six placers advance to the California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field Championships at Cerritos College on Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19.
Barnes is 403 points off recieving national attention. Powell and Barnes are just shy of cracking the top-20 heptathlon results in the country according to USA Track & Field. Claire McConnell of the University of Oklahoma is ranked No. 20 with 4,204 points.
If Barnes can continue improving over the next four years, she will be within an arm’s reach of a Olympic qualifying time, which is within reach since Barnes has already improved 585 points this year in just two heptathlon meets.
Husky Bette Bosch placed No. 20 in the heptathlon outdistancing Lindsee Handel of Cuesta College by 248 points.
Bosch started off strong; her 100-meter run at 16.90 was her fastest time of the year. Bosch’s arm strength gave her eighth place in the shot put.
Four days prior to the Heptathlon Championships, the Huskies women’s track and field team placed 11th in the Orange Coast College Invitational.
Barnes dominated the competition by scoring all the points helping the Huskies upset Concordia University. East Los Angeles College fielded a small team at the meet, about one-third of the squad.
Eleven Huskies posted their 19 best results of the season. Barnes and Dominique Scott improved in the long jump. Barnes’ 5.69-meter leap was good enough for the sixth top jump in the state.
Barnes placed second in the 100 hurdles and third in the javelin, also gaining her top results in these events.
Others posting season bests were Linda Alvarado and Gloria Hernandez in the 1,500 run and Antonio Oropeza in the 200 run.
Carlos Segovia and Jesus Hurtado topped their previous best steeplechase runs. The Collazo team of Alejandro (400 run) and sister Marcella (800 run) also ran to their fastest times.
Jessica Herrera threw the hammer 28.14 meters, her top throw of the year, at the Cal State L.A. Tommy Tiny Classic across town on the same day as the Coast Invite.
The Huskies have one final tune up at the Cal State Long Beach Invitational Friday and Saturday at Cerritos College, before entering two postseason qualifying meets the following week, the SCC prelims and finals. The Beach Invitational will feature athletes from California Community Colleges as well as four-year universities from across the nation.