Track and Field off to state championships
Santa Monica College men's and women's track and field took part this past Saturday in the Southern California Finals for a chance to compete at the State Championships.
The championships will take place this Saturday in Sacramento.
SMC qualified for the championships and will compete in the women's 4 x 100-meter relays. After valiant efforts from the relay team of Zora Golcevska, Sandra Hendricks, Lisha Burch, and Frances Jones the team pulled off a time of 49.28 and an overall place of fifth.
The top four teams from both the North and South division automatically advanced to the championships; the fifth place team with the fastest time from both divisions would qualify, for a total of nine teams. Because SMC's time was faster than the north's fifth place team SMC grabbed the ninth spot.
"The 4 x100-meter relay team performed when it counted. This event was the women's best chance to qualify, and they did it by having smooth handoffs and keeping their focus," said Women's Head Coach Eric Barron. "By changing where the handoffs occur in the zones, we can run even faster next week."
The Corsairs headed into the contest to compete in four other events - four events that SMC fell just short of qualifying for.
The same team of Golcevska, Hendricks, Burch, and Jones competed in the 4 x 400-meter relays. With a time of 4:09.44 and a sixth place finish, the Lady Corsairs missed qualifying for the championship by one place.
In the Long Jump event, Golcevska placed tenth with her longest jump of the afternoon at 16'9". In order to advance she would have needed a jump of 17'8" to qualify.
"Zora was pretty disappointed after the long jump, so she had extra incentive when she got in the blocks on the 4 x 100-meter relay to run hard. She also ran her fastest leg of the season on the 4 x 400-meter relay," said Barron.
Competing in the High Jump event freshman Dorian McClain had a jump of 6'2" and seventh place finish. In an event were only the top six athletes qualify, McClain just missed moving ahead to the championships by one place, but due to a scratch from the competition by one of the competitors who qualified for the championships McClain was moved into the High Jump event and will compete in the championships this Saturday.
Taking part in the 1500-meter race, prominent athlete Mo Elmi missed qualifying for the state championship by a meager three seconds. With a time of 4:03.79 and eighth place finish.
"Mo took the first 400 meters at 62 seconds, which was slightly faster than he should have been running. Nevertheless, he tried his best, and at least he can now let his leg heal," said Barron.
"Mo just didn't run the race he wanted to run, so he was pretty disappointed," said Assistant Coach Tom Paul Geha. "He's learning to pace himself and learning to run a smart race. This being his first year running the 1500-meter, it's just a learning process for him," added Geha.
Elmi's brave efforts at the So Cal Finals came after nursing a sore hamstring for a month. "He just didn't get to train as hard as a lot of the competition, and that played into him not making it to state," said Geha. "He lost a lot of training time because of that, but that's the cards you're dealt."
The team will leave Friday for the State Finals in Sacramento and will be looking to come away with something. "The goal at the State Championship will be to set a season record for the event and to come away with a medal," said Barron.