Runners on the storm

As thunder rolled in and lightning lit up the sky, Moorpark College would not be denied the rare opportunity to host a Los Angeles area track meet in the pouring rain. The Western State Conference track and field meet, on Friday at Los Angeles Valley College would be held come rain or shine. Moorpark hosted the meet at LA Valley College after LAVC had their entire track team eliminated due to budget cuts.

The rain started immediately as the first events got under way. To stay dry, track team members waited underneath bleachers until it was their turn to compete. Although the bleachers did provide some shelter from the storm, athletes still got soaked during warm-ups and power failures led to even more complications. Some runners were visibly shivering as they waited to register. Sign-ins were held manually at the starting line to speed up the process, while others were done by iPhone.

When events finally got under way, Santa Monica College freshman Kendall Holiday started the day by winning the 200-meter dash in 23.24 seconds, acing out Venzel Rucker of West Los Angeles College. Kendall also claimed second in the 100-meter and helped SMC take second place in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. Also representing SMC in the 200-meters was sprinter Zachary Stern who took third.

Helping SMC's chances on the day was sophomore Drew Brown who took third in the 400-meter dash and also helped SMC take second place in the 100 and 400-meter relays. Brown believes that the 4x400 meter relay team "has a good chance to take the state title this year."

Last year's sophomore middle distance ace Terrence Luevano took second place behind Glendale's Bryant Flores, narrowly losing his first race of the day by a mere 0.18 seconds. Luevano also took third place in the 1500-meters. All this after missing the entire cross country season due to a foot injury. "I'm fully recovered now and ready for track season," said Luevano.

The lady Corsairs were led by freshman Marisa Lemus who took second in the women's 200-meters. Following up Lemus was returning sophomore Ashley Bootesaz who took fifth place in the 1500-meters as the rain refused to let up.

Bolstering SMC's team total was Devyn Ruiz who took first place in the 100-meter hurdles, second place in the long jump as well as helping SMC take second place in the 4x100 meter relay. Ruiz will definitely be called upon throughout the season to help SMC make a run at the state championships.

Due to numerous delays causing most events to fall behind schedule, the 3000-meter race included men and women. The cold and wet conditions made it difficult to beat personal bests, set state records or even hold proper races.

Considering the conditions, no more could have been asked of the SMC track team than what they already gave during the cold and gloomy afternoon. If The Corsairs can match the level of competition showed at LAVC, SMC should have a great shot at qualifying and competing for multiple state titles this May.

In just six weeks, a series of four meets will determine who gets to compete in the state championships at Mt. San Antonio College May 16-17.