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Three PCC Runners Medal At State Track Meet

Three PCC Runners Medal At State Track Meet image

Tracee van der Wyk tried, but couldn't overcome the elements in placing third in the women's 1,500 meters at the CCCAA State Track and Field Championships held Saturday at Antelope Valley College's Marauder Stadium. Overall, three Pasadena City College men's and women's track athletes earned state medals (top eight places) as the 2009-2010 Lancers sports season came to a close.

Van der Wyk, a freshman, came into the state 1,500 as both the South Coast Conference and Southern California champion in the event. However, a rocky trip that saw her grab the lead after one lap went wrong in the final circle. Van der Wyk was accidentally tripped by one runner causing a momentary stumble, but maintained her feet, in that last lap. She had been bumped a few times earlier in the race.

Fighting neck and neck with Glendale's Rosa Del Toro and running against hard winds, van der Wyk lost her steam in the final 250 yards. The sophomore Del Toro captured the state title while van der Wyk settled for third in a time of 4:45.78.

"I felt like there were so many runners hitting each other," van der Wyk said after her races. "I think I elbowed (Del Toro), but I was in a crowd. I've never been in a race that physical before. The wind was tough too, and by the time I went into the stretch I just didn't have anything left."

Van der Wyk would then take fifth place in the 800 with a time of 2:20.85. The stiff wind that all racers encountered in the last quarter of the track caused slower than average times for many of the races. Her 10 points scored allowed PCC to officially place in a three-way tie for 20th at the state meet.

The Lancers have had just three women's individual state champions in their history: Sarah Goodlaw in the 1996 hammer throw, Amber Roberts in the 1997 high jump, and Elizabeth Heskett, who shares the state record in the pole vault at 12-2 in 2001.

In the men's competition, Lancer Richard Zarazua was impressive in placing fourth in the 1,500. Zarazua briefly led the field in the third lap, and found another burst of energy in the final lap. However, as Zarazua neared the leaders in the last curve, both El Camino's David Cardona and eventual champion Gabriel Hilbert (Cerritos) somehow generated a sprint to the finish. Like van der Wyk, Zarazua seemed to be affected by the harsh wind. Still, he ran a time of 4:06.78 and placed ahead of four runners that had previous faster seed times coming into the state meet.

"I felt pretty good late in the race, but then the wind just hits you in the last 300 meters," Zarazua said. "I ran as hard as I could."

Sophomore Isaiah Sims grabbed a seventh place medal in the 100 meter sprint with a time of 10.64. The seven points that Zarazua and Sims produced gave PCC a 31st team placing among 46 teams that scored. Lancer sophomore Ernesto Rodriguez finished a non-scoring ninth place in the 3,000 steeplechase. Riverside won the men's team state title while Laney captured the women's team championship.

Chris Hicks is the last PCC men's champion when he captured the 2008 high jump title.

The Lancers track and field teams were coached this year by co-head coaches Armand Crespo and Larry Wade.

Photo--PCC's Richard Zarazua (far right) goes into the stretch of the 1,500 meters at the CCCAA Track and Field Champions at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 05/22/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu