By Tadzio Garcia
East Los Angeles College All-American freshman Laura Aceves ran her first-ever 10,000-meter run while running to the fastest time in the nation of community college women at the Occidental College Carnival on Friday.
“Aceves broke the ELAC women’s track and field 10,000 run record set by Cindy Lopez in 2002,” ELAC Head Coach Louis Ramirez said.
Sophomore Daniel Rincon-Zaragoza’s 10,000 run at the Carnival was the third fastest time in the state as well as the country.
Half of the Huskies track and field team (15) competed at the Carnival with well over 1,000 loud athletes, from four-year universities as well as community college, and fans on deck.
Seven of ELAC’s top athletes competed in the 20th Annual Ben Brown Invitational Saturday on the campus of Cal State Fullerton also against four-year university and community college athletes.
The Huskies have a bye next week and return to action at the Pasadena City College Games on Friday, March 28 at PCC.
Eight Huskies had 13 personal records in two daysa, nine at the Carnival and four more at Ben Brown including Cris Flores with two personal records in the 800-meter and 5,000 runs.
Seven more Huskies ran one personal record each at Occidental including Aceves, Rincon-Zaragoza, Maybell Sanchez in the 800-meter run, Adrian Gaytan (800 run) and Andrew Torres (3,000-meter steeplechase). Also Luis Hernandez and Jimmy Palencia-Gonzalez who both ran personal records in the 110-meter hurdles.
At the Ben Brown Invitational, Aceves ran her first 5,000-meter run in competition, the second-fastest time in the state while Flores added one in the steeplechase.
“Laura’s 5,000 run is the fastest time recorded by a woman athlete at ELAC since Sylvia Mosqueda won the same event in the 1987 state championships,” Ramirez said.
Mosqueda’s time that day is still a national record.
After the race, Aceves leaned over a gate looking exhausted, Ramirez said, “Being tired is expected, but this is what you will have to do at state, run in back-to-back days.”
Rincon-Zaragoza and Gaytan also an personal records in Fullerton in the 5,000 and 1,500 runs, respectively.
Gonzalo Ceja, who has recently returned to training after an injury, ran a 3,000-meter steeplechase time at the Carnival that is No. 6 in the state and No. 8-best nationally. Ceja was a 2013 state finalist in the steeplechase.
“I’ve been training, but only for a few days since coming off my injury. I will be at full strength soon. I learn from each race and take it one step at a time,” Ceja said.
Sophomore Adrian Gaytan ran three personal records last weekend after a year layoff from sports to focus on his studies.
“I was nervous running against university level competition, but felt good in the 800 race on Friday. On Saturday, after the race I learned that I need to work on my kick in the 1500,” Gaytan said.
Sandy Bautista won her 800-meter run heat with a personal best time, edging Anna Schwab of Pomona-Pitzer College at the tape, by half of a second, in front of ELAC supporters rooting her on.
“I think I did a good job. I was very excited,” Bautista said.
ELAC’s Amy Herrera placed fourth over Amanda Pierce of the University of Redlands.