San Diego Mesa hosts Southern California Regional track prelims


Sophomore distance runner Erica Edwards jumps her way into the 3000m steeplechase final. Picture credit to, Jeff Eichler

Chris Varela Benitez, Sports Writer

San Diego Mesa College hosted the 2018 Southern California Regional Prelims on May 5. The Olympians competed against some of the best athletes in the state of California, and a majority of the Olympians beat their personal bests, with a few advancing to the finals which will be held on May 12.

According to assistant coach Manny Bautista, “The SoCal Regional meet is a lot deeper than the actual state meet because a hand full of athletes from the South go on to qualify for the state meet, while the North only send a few.”

The women’s javelin final was contested the first day of prelims and Micaela Ecija placed fifth overall with a mark of 33.31m., which advanced her to the state prelims.

Sophomore distance runner Erica Edwards advanced to the finals with a personal best in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 12:26.92, which placed her sixth overall. After the meet she briefly mentioned, “It wasn’t harder than anything that we do in practice. The weather was nice and the crowd was good.” Edwards will also be running the 5000m in finals.

Kristina Tovilovic ran a seasonal best in the 1500m with a time of 4:54.90 and will be competing in the finals as well.

The women’s 4x100m relay team of Joliza Frank, T’Shyne Goodwin, Jasmine Perez, and Skyler Weiden qualified to the finals with a time of 51.15.

Over on the men’s side, sophomore sprinter Cooper Bibbs qualified to the finals in both the 100m and 200m. He ran 10.80 in the 100m and 21.60 in the 200m Both fields were absolutely loaded with studs from Mt. SAC and Riverside.

In the men’s long jump, four Mesa athletes advanced to the finals with hopes of making it to the state meet. First, sophomore Cedell Morris jumped a personal best of 7.05m. Then, freshman Evan Crossing jumped a personal best of 6.79m. Isaiah Harris also jumped a personal best of 6.97m, and Saimon Georgari jumped a 6.78m.

Morris mentioned, “I was disappointed for not making the final in the high jump because that is my event so I knew I had a second opportunity to make the final so I just gave it my best and surprised a lot of people including myself.”

Louis McNair, Yamil Garcia, and Terrence Allen will all be competing in the men’s javelin finals. High jumper Ryan Dean also qualified for the finals with a 1.90m jump.

Sophomore Hayden McIntyre finished his season strong placing 9th in a deep field of the men’s shot put with a 13.42m throw.

Despite being one place away from making the men’s 800m final sophomore Cesar Palomares ran a personal best of 1:57.38. With his head high he said, “It was a good race, coming in I was a 1:59 runner and I ended with a two-second personal best. I gave it my best to be honest and I was very nervous before my race. Throughout the season I have had many problems with injury because of my hamstring. I thought about my family and daughter to come so that motivated me to finish strong.”

Head Coach Sean Ricketts mentioned, “This meet was smooth because we had actual officials and people organizing the meet. We had help from our athletes setting up blocks, hurdles, and helping out throughout the course. Also, the men’s football team was generous enough to help us out. We are looking forward for the final on Saturday May 12 and hope to advance some of our athletes to the state meet.”

Overall, the track and field squad had a solid season by finishing Pacific Coast Conference champions in both men’s and women’s events respectively, despite facing many challenges throughout the season. The state meet will be hosted by Bakersfield College on May 18 and 19.