Sports in the News
Track and Field's van der Wyk Repeats As 1,500 SoCal Champion
If there were doubts from track experts, there were no doubts in the mind of Pasadena City College middle distance runner Tracee van der Wyk Friday night as she repeated her title in the 1,500 meters event at the Southern California Track and Field Championships held at Mt. San Antonio College.
Van der Wyk, already established as PCC's greatest women's cross country runner, looks to become the first Lancer female state champion in a decade at the CCCAA Championships Saturday, May 21 at Sacramento's American River College. The last PCC state champ was Elizabeth Heskett in the 2001 pole vault. No Pasadena women's athlete has ever won a running event at the state championship level.
Despite her victory and the sophomore phenom's third place finish in the 800 meters, the PCC women placed 18th in the region, three spots lower than last season.
Coming into the 1,500, van der Wyk had trailed Orange Coast's Sara Toberty for best time in the state in the event. However, it took one full turn around the Hilmer Lodge Stadium track for Tracee to grab the lead as she would finish in a winning time of 4:33.25. Toberty finished in fourth while Riverside's Casey Candeleria closed 1.25 seconds behind van der Wyk for second place.
In the 800, van der Wyk's 2:14.24 was not enough as LA Trade Tech's Danielle Low won that event in 2:09.31. Earlier in the season, van der Wyk had beaten Low in the Occidental Distance Carnival with her career best mark of 2:11.65. Low prevented van der Wyk from winning the state, region and South Coast Conference individual championships in the 2010 cross country season. In each of those venues, Low finished first to van der Wyk's second.
In the 4x400 relay, the PCC squad of Jonice Rivers, Tenia Sebastian, Marquetta Stokes and van der Wyk placed eighth in the final at 3:58.44.
Freshman Melanie Samvalian made her season-best throw work for eighth place in the shot put at 11.94 meters (39 feet, 2 inches).
MORE ACCOLADES FOR VAN DER WYK
Van der Wyk was named both South Coast Conference Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the 2011 SCC Championships by conference coaches.
On April 15 at the 53rd Mt. SAC Relays, van der Wyk foreshadowed her strong performance in the SoCals by racing a season-best 4:29.71 time in the 1,500 against all 4-year university racers in the open division. The mark remains the second fastest community college time in the nation to Toberty (4:28.85).
[Photo--Tracee van der Wyk (middle of photo, white jersey) plots her move early on during her 1,500 meters event victory at the SoCal Championships Friday at Mt. San Antonio College, image by Richard Quinton.]
Release Date: 05/14/11