By Victoria Hernandez
The East Los Angeles College track and field team competed in the So Cal Finals 2013 making history as it’s been six years since the team competed in five different events for the So Cal Finals.
“I am very proud of the team, and the team’s chemistry throughout the whole season. We hope to end it strong,” said ELAC Head Coach Louis Ramirez.
The first one to compete was 23-year-old Gonzalo Ceja in the 3,000 meter steeple chase.“This is my first ever track season,” Ceja said. Ceja made it to the state finals.
“(I want to) Beat the East Los Angeles College’s record of 9 minutes and 5 minutes. I will train myself even harder to set new goals for myself. It helped so much to not only trained during practice, but outside of practice,” said Ceja, who achieved a new personal record at the competition.
Ceja also received his first ever medal, as he placed fourth out of 20 other male runners across Southern California. “I am shocked and happy all at once. I originally joined tracked to better my chances of getting into shape, because I wanted to become a firefighter. (It’s) all a part of my master plan,” Gonzalo explained.
The biggest challenge for the team is balancing their track practices and their academics, but according to Ramirez the team all have scholarship offerings and the athletics counselor has worked with the team. “They’re all doing great with GPA’s over 3.0,” Ramirez said.
In Gonzalo’s very first completion he went from having a time of 10.33 and falling into the water pit, to making it into the top five for every single competition throughout the season.
Megan Magdaleno was the only female runner representing the Huskies for the semifinal. She participated in the 10,000 meter distance run. “Even though I feel I didn’t perform today to my potential, I have improved so much since the beginning of the season. My overall last season has been great, that and placing to So Cal 2013 has been the highlight of the whole season,” Magdaleno said.
This has been her first ever season running distance, a big transition from cross country and her love of softball in high school. Magdaleno went from the top 10 throughout the overall season, but then after training more with motivator and teammate Ceja, she began to make it to the top five, which gave her a position for the semi finals.
The last competitor for the long jump and triple jump, was last year’s most valuable player Avanti Armendariz, marked up from twelfth place to the top six ranking. He has been in the track team for two years and this will be his last season competing for the Huskies at 22-years-old. “I am happy to finish strong and at my best,” Armendariz said.
“The one who coached and trained me – Coach David Loera – wasn’t able to make it, because he went to the hospital. He always told me no excuses, and to always put everything out there. He helped me as I was competing,” Armendariz said.
Armendariz had build up his momentum when it came to the long jump from 100 meters to 200 meters practices.
He scored 6.90 meters, which put him in seventh place. “Now it is time for me to move on to bigger and better things, and hopefully make it again, but at a university,” Armendariz said.
This also has been his first time competing for the So Cal Finals 2013, but one of his biggest accomplishments was placing second for the 400 hurtles, without having any experience and with only one week of preparation.