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The Jag-Wire Recap
Greetings supporters, family members, athletes and fans of Southwestern College Track & Field team. In the next weeks, you’ll be updated to the amazing stories, lives and reports on members of the team and given updates to their performances. I’d like to thank you in advance for your considerate donation to assist our team and invite you to come watch us compete, train and celebrate what is Jaguar track & field.
SWC T&F Head Coach
Terrific-Trio Punch State Tickets
May 13, 2013
Antelope Valley College – SOCAL Finals (5/11/2013)
Lancaster, CA – It was a tale of two cities but not quite like the famous novel by Charles Dickens but two different weekends with two quite different weather phenomena and two different results for the Jags. Last week, the team was ravaged by the brutal winds of Antelope Valley, this week the high desert winds ushered in the heat. Only three Jags made the cut for a return trip to the championships. However, it was fitting and predictable that at least these three Jaguars would be the ones. Competing in the SOCAL Finals were Korin Chapman pole-vault, Geno Simmons triple-jump and Branden Greene in both the long and high jump, each has had their faire share of headlines this year. Each athlete has personally re-written the Southwestern College record books this spring.
The first event of the day was the women’s pole-vault. Korin entered the event tied for the best jump from last Saturday’s prelims. Eleven women started the event and in short order, only four were left. In the second round, Korin had a monster clearance but the landing from the lofty height led to an ankle sprain that would plague her the remainder of the meet. However, Korin had one mission in mind and that was to not disappoint her cheering section of weary travelers that had made the three and a half hour trip from San Diego. In the end, Korin would soldier on and in the process compete through the pain and delivering one special early “Mother’s Day” gift for her mother, grandmother and sister that cheered wildly from outside the track’s fence. Korin jumped a personal record, school record and launched herself into fourth place and a spot in the 2013 California Community College State Championships next week.
Branden Greene had the busiest day of the three athletes. Competing in both the long and high jump, the conditions and lessons learned from last week would be totally useless as this week, the winds, however slight, began to blow in the opposite direction from seven days ago. Several athletes in the long jump were put off by the change in atmosphere. Branden struggled through all six of jumps. Consistently jumping behind the take-off board, his best was only good enough for sixth place and a chance for redemption at the state meet. In the high jump however, it was quite a different story. Although Branden complained that the heat of the day had begun to take its toll on his energy stores. Talent, determination and training prevailed on the day. Branden cleared the bar better than most but not as good as one. He finished second to a great jump by a less talented athlete who had fresher legs.
Eugene perhaps had it the worst of the three. The men’s triple jump didn’t start until 4:00pm. Geno, had to endure the excitement and heartaches of all the athletes around him. Sitting in the hot desert sun for hours and trying to constrain your emotions is no easy feat. However, Geno handled it all in style and delivered one great performance after another. In the end, Geno now owns a school record, a SOCAL forth place but most importantly a ticket to state.
@ College of San Mateo
Friday & Saturday - May 17 - 18, 2013
Events start at 10:00 am
AVC "winds" blow Jag's state hopes
May 7, 2013
Antelope Valley College – SOCAL Prelims (5/4/2013)
Lancaster, CA – Three year ago, Southwestern Jags lost two key opportunities to crown state champions at the California Community College State Track and Field meet at Antelope Valley College. Winds wrought havoc with all foot races and all field events during the blustery day. Individual state crowns were won by complete unknowns who managed the wind better or made the fewest mistakes. Two Southwestern top performers fell victim that day to the hot Antelope Valley winds. Dahir Mohammed, was ranked 3rd in the nation in the men’s 3000m steeple-chase and Tanya Valenzuela was ranked 9th in the country also in the women’s steeple entering the meet. Both were sure locks for another state title brought home to Chula Vista. However, the 30+mph winds completely devastated all hopes for fast times or normal races.
The first race of the day was the women’s steeple and Tanya’s chances at history. She was instructed to let another competitor do all the work and lead the race. By doing this, she would be able to “draft” off of the athlete and allowing Tanya to save energy. However, the race dictated by the winds, went off totally different than anyone would have imagined. Tanya did exactly like she was told, however, the winds offered such resistance that the pace became so slow and labored, the athletes had to lean into the wind and fight the elements the entire way. Their strides were half of what they should have been and thus each athlete took more steps per race than ever before. At the last lap, Tanya made her move but it was too late, her energy was gone and one brave athlete who dared the wind broke away from the pack stealing the race. Tanya finished a disappointing second on the day but would still win a full athletic scholarship to UC Riverside.
In the men’s steeple, the coaching staff instructed Dahir to be patient and as Tanya did, let someone else do the work. In the event a “breakaway” runner goes out, make a choice to stay with them or wait to see if they had what it takes to fight the winds. Unfortunately, this plan would have worked to perfection but Dahir (5’9”, 125lbs) decided to be the breakaway runner after the first ½ mile.
With the winds lashing at his face then his back with each passing lap, Dahir’s energy expenditure was off the chart. He built an impressive ½ lap lead on the tightly bunched field with five laps to go. At three laps to go the field started their pursuit. At this time, Dahir began to show the first signs of trouble. He labored to clear the barriers and his stride began to shorten. The lead was quickly reduced to only meters with one lap to go. Then it happened… Dahir’s energy stores bottomed out. His legs became rubber and his muscle control was futile. He fell three times in the last 200m. Two athletes over took him but experienced the same fate, their legs betrayed them. Each athlete fell then clawed their way back to their feet to soldier on but it was useless. The pack of athletes that stayed together consumed the three athletes, overtaking them in the last 150m of the race. Dahir finished a disappointing 4th on the day.
Fast forward to 2013, those winds returned to wreak havoc with dreams once more. This year, the winds blew in the opposite direction causing slow times in all sprints and eliminating the slightly built athletes. In the field events, the bars had to be held on, the throwing fields were a battle field of projectiles with no obvious landing points.
Two key hopes for the team, Charles Ponce and Samantha Marroquin were late withdrawals. Our hopes for possible state qualifiers in the men’s 10k and women’s 5k blew away with the wind before a single breeze was ever felt. Additionally, with Samantha’s leaving, the women’s 4 x 400m team was without a leg and had to drop from the meet. Going into the SOCAL Prelims, Southwestern would be sending his hopes and wishes with Geno Simmons in the long and triple jumps, Branden Greene in the long and high jumps, Mikey Hendricks and Paula Aleman in the 400m hurdles, Korin Chapman in the pole-vault, Sierra Echols in the 10k, Wilber Camacho in the 110m hurdles, Gary Birtwell in the Hammer and Shot and both men’s relays had qualified for the prelims.
Despite the small group, the Jags had quality and hoped to secure their fair share of spots for next Saturday’s finals. That was until the winds arrived…
The first event of the day was the men’s long jump; Geno and Branden fought hard for position but the winds played with their marks. Each athlete was given three attempts. Of twenty seven athletes, only nine would go to the finals. In the end, Geno was able to get two marks in but they were not good enough to be one of the top nine placers. Branden, with two fouls and only one final attempt, eked out a last minute fair jump to make the finals. His final jump of 7.00m was good for third best on the day.
Gary Birtwell entered the day with a tight back muscle. The freshman fought gallantly but his second of three throws only reached 41meters. It took a mighty heave of 44 meters to make the finals. Later in the day, his attempt in the shot also fell too short to advance. However, great things are in store for this member of a great dynamic thrower duo. Look for big marks next season.
In the women’s pole-vault; it had to be the most intense event of the day. Poor officiating, the event starting an hour late, winds blowing the bar or poles off and mass confusion to the rules, the event had everything for the day. However, Korin Chapman stayed cool and collected the entire day. Her poise was professional and she patiently chose her tools wisely to navigate the bars. In the end, Korin cleared the final height of 10’9” with four others to secure her place, tied for 1st going into next week’s finals.
In the men’s high jump, the winds were at their strongest. The bar was held on by two assistances for the entire event. Mikey Hendricks was up against the odds to make the final nine but gave it a good effort but in the end, the winds got him. Branden Greene survived the twenty seven man carnage to walk away tied for first and a great chance at winning the whole thing next week fingers crossed. In the men’s triple jump, the ever confident Geno Simmons lived up to his prediction and secured a spot for next week’s final. Geno bounded to an 8th place advancer with a jump of 13.85m.
With a last minute substitution in the men’s 4 x 100m relay, the men’s team failed to advance. While it was a great effort on their part, the competition was far too great to overcome the odds. Later in the day, the men’s 4 x 400m relay team was scratched as a result of a disciplinary action to one of the team members.
In the hurdles, the wind took two of its greatest prizes. Wilber Camacho made the drive up that morning due to family obligations. He competed gallantly but failed to navigate the winds finishing way behind the field. In the women’s 400m hurdles, one of our strongest hopes for a state champion, felt victim. Paula Aleman gave her best but the wind in the end won the battle. Her steps fell off stride and frustration and lack of experience in conditions like these led Paula to a very disappointing finish. However, there will be great things in the future for this young lady. She is a Champion and will find her footing again.
Finally, in the last race of the day, Sierra Echols gave her best effort in the 10k race. But just like the beginning of this report, the winds in long races do strange things to athletes and crown unlikely winners. And so it was in this race. Sierra finished a disappointing 20th. We look for better days and better races in her future also.
In the end, only three athletes survived the cruelty of the Antelope Valley winds. But what a great three they are. Next week the amazing freshman trio of Branden Greene in the long and high jump, Geno Simmons in the triple jump and Korin Chapman in the pole-vault will attempt to avenge their teammates and punch their tickets to a regional title and a berth at the California State Championships. We wish them all the best luck and cheer them on to future glory. Go Jags!
SO. CAL FINALS @ AVC
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Events start at 10:00 am
April 15, 2013
Arnie Robinson Invitational (4/13/2013)
San Diego, CA – Arnie Robinson is a pillar of San Diego track and field. The two-time Olympic long jump medalist (1972 gold, 1976 silver) was in attendance for his inaugural meet at Mesa College stadium. Former athletes, friends and family members came to spend the day with the track and field legend and enjoy a track meet too.
What could have been a nice meet if the weather had cooperated, instead was a gloomy, damp and cold event that did not yield too many fast times or impressive marks by the open, college and high school athletes. Trade Tech, East Los Angeles, San Diego State and Southwestern competed in the select event meet in front of a small but energetic crowd.
Due to the size of the meet, it really came down to a quad meet with the four schools and on the men’s side a tri-scoring meet. In each case, the lady and men Jags rose to the top.
Gary Birtwell and team mate Aron Conde continued their season long battles in the throws. However, Aron came out on top this week over Birtwell with wins in the disc and shot. It was especially impressive for Aron who had fallen into a slump in the two events to regain his confidence just prior to going into the Pacifica Coast Conference Championships in a week’s time.
In the jumps, Branden easily out leaped the field in the high jump. However, Eugene Simmons is rounding into shape posting higher marks than his team mate in the long jump while Branden struggled to find the take off board. This bodes well for Geno as the conference championships will be hotly contested in the jumps.
In the sprints, due to the small fields and lack of competition, the Southwestern College coaches decided to make a training session and use the opportunity to give the men a trial at sprinting in meet conditions. The top SWC sprinter on the day was Paris Kinsey in 11.33, rounding out the field was Justin Smith, Denzel Brown, Wilber Camacho and Michael Hendricks
Women’s results highlights – Sierra Echols and Samantha Marroquin placed 3rd and 4th in the 1,500m and later came back to join team mate Amber Gutierrez in the 5,000m on the cold night).
@ SBVC (prelims)
@ Cuyamaca (finals)
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
Saturday - April 20, 2013
Events start at 1:00 pm
April 10, 2013
CSULA “Tiny Lister Invitational” (4/5-6/2013)
Los Angeles, CA – Five year ago, Southwestern Jags ventured the 140 mile trek to compete at the inaugural “Tiny Lister Invitational”, the jaguars were sorely disappointed to see only a scattering of athletes from three other teams that also took the journey. This year the event, named after the actor/alumni most famous for his role, “Dee-bo” in the hit comedy movie “Friday”, was a full house of top notch schools and athletes.
The two day competition began on Friday with two throwing events, the men’s hammer and discus with big marks from Gary Birtwell in the hammer. Gary continued his season improvements with a throw of 40.48m finishing 5th highest of JC competitors and 19th overall.
Sergio Carreon finally was cleared to compete and join the team. This first year, first ever track event, athlete threw the javelin in what was a Jaguar season best 44.44m and finishing 10th overall for the meet. Not a bad start for the former water polo player. Great things may be ahead for Carreon. Todd Curl finished 13th overall with a respectable 39.49m.
Freshman Karenina Alvarez struggled in the javelin for a 19th place and continued to throw big in the shot with a toss of 9.58m to finish 13th overall. In the men’s shot, the trio of Gary Birtwell, Todd Curl and Aron Conde finished 12th, 13th and 17th with Curl having the best throw of the trio with a throw of 11.38m just shy of his personal best.
In the jumps, Branden continues to outpace the field. His day started with a season best and possible personal record long jump of 7.06m/23’ 3” winning his flight and finishing 3rd overall. Geno Simmons continued the Jaguar winning ways winning his flight in a season best jump of 6.46m which finished him in overall 13th while Lucas Shepley had a season best jump of 5.55m finishing him 27th overall.
In the triple jump, the Jags only participant, Geno Simmons bounded to a huge personal record of 13.74m/45’ 1”. Geno’s jump finished him 8th overall for the day.
In the long jump, Michael Hendricks joined Branden Greene and Lucas Shepley in the event. “Mikey” leaped a respectable 5’8” to Lucas’ 5’6” but no one could touch Branden on the day as he wowed the crowd with huge leaps and monster clearances over even the lowest bars. In the end, Branden remained atop of the field with another win. Branden jumped 6’8” to top the field.
In the pole-vault, due to the size of the meet, the opening heights were set for the men’s event. Newly added to team, Alex Lopez and Justin Smith made brave attempt at the 13’6” bar but failed to clear the opening heights and had to watch the remainder of the competition. However, on the women’s side, Freshman vaulter Korin Chapman continued to raise the bar of her own school record. This week she raised the record to 11’ 1 ¾” to finish 7th overall.
In the men’s relays, the Jaguars continue to improve their times even though the final combination has still yet to be discovered. Men’s results - 4 x 400m (3:32.60) – 10th, 4 x 100m (44.56) – 7th. In the hurdles, Michael Hendricks continued to struggle in the high hurdles, 110mh (17.31) – 22nd but continues to improve in the long hurdles.
Mike finished the grueling event in a season best of (58.31). On the distance side, Charles Ponce continued to be the pride of SWC. In the 3000m Ponce ran a respectable (8:58.73) -10th. Newly added to the team after a lengthy medical rehab process, Paris Kinsey opened with respectable sprints for the day of 100m (11.35), 200m (23.33)
Women’s results highlights – Paula Aleman continues to fly in the 400mh (1:06.75) – 6th. Later in the night, a special race was added for Paula to qualify for the conference championships, the 3000m steeple-chase. Paula completed the 7-lap 30 barrier race in a respectable 12:51.20. Not a bad result for her first attempt at the tough race. Finally, freshman Samantha Marroquin finished 5th in her heat and 18th overall in the 3000m (11:30.26).
Arnie Robinson Invite
@ San Diego Mesa College
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Events start at 3:00 pm
April 3, 2013
FAST PACED MEET FOR FASTER JAGS
Cuyamaca v Palomar v Southwestern (3/28/2013)
La Mesa, CA – Cuyamaca College offered a small meet for the three San Diego community college schools to contest. The point of the meet was to turn what would probably have been another mundane day of practice, into a “low-key” competition amongst the three schools.
On the men’s side, Southwestern would compete in a dual meet with Cuyamaca College’s men and on the women’s side; the Lady Jags would go against both Palomar and Cuyamaca’s women’s squads.
All events were contested and the meeting started promptly at 10:00am. But there was the problem… What normally takes five to six hours to complete (normal amount of time for track meet), the tri meet’s running events “rolling schedule” were all concluded in just shy of two hours with only the discus and pole-vault needing an additional half hour to conclude.
What was truly a “glorified practice” for both teams, surprisingly turned out some great results for each team under the intense schedule and pacing.
The day started off with a commanding performance by the women’s distance quartet of Paula Aleman, Sierra Echols, Samantha Marroquin and Amber Gutierrez finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th in the women’s 1500meter run. In a short time later, Sierra Echols doubled back to be the class of the field in the 3000m run outpacing all challengers in a finishing time of 11:36.85. Amber Gutierrez and Samantha Marroquin finished 4th and 5th to round out the field.
Carlos Ponce continued his winning season taking the men’s 1500m in 4:09.23. Jeff Apalategui and Bruce Alvarez trailed the field in 5th and 6th place. Not to be out done by the women, “Charlie” then came back to win the men’s 3000m run in a time of 9:10.62.
Michael Hendricks continued to struggle in the men’s 110m hurdles but appears to be finding his stride in the 400m hurdles. For the third week in a row, “Mikey” lowered his personal record finishing 3rd in a time of 57.48. However, he wasn’t quite done with his surprises for the amazed coaches. Earlier in the week, “Mikey” asked to be placed in the men’s high jump. Realizing this was a fun meet, the coaches decided to give him a chance and maybe get a good laugh out of it. To all’s surprise, Southwestern has found another high jumper to join Branden Greene and Lucas Shepley. Mikey easily cleared the opening bars and finished 3rd at a modest 5’8” but had great height over the bars. Mikey just lacks some technical work and he will be soaring to great heights.
Other individuals include, Justin Smith continued to figure out the pole-vault launching himself to a new personal record of 3.50 meters or 11’ 6” and Branden Greene continues to wow the crowd with his leaping abilities. The freshman (Branden) won both the high jump and long jump.
In the throws, the two former Otay Ranch Mustangs continue to progress step-for-step with each other in the shot and discus. However, Gary Birtwell has begun to pull away from Aron Conde in the hammer throw. Gary launched a few big fouls at last week’s meet in Point Loma missing the finals and where Aron prevailed. But this week, Gary got off a big personal record throw of 37.34m or 122’ 10 ¼” which moves him up on the all-time SWC list to #2.
Tiny Lister Invitational meet @ CSULA
Friday - April 5, 2013
(Hammer, Discus only)
Saturday - April 6, 2013
Events start at 9:00 am
March 27, 2013
SHARON AND ROSS IRWIN INVITATIONAL, PLNU (3/23/13)
Point Loma, CA – Point Loma Nazarene University is without question one of the most beautiful campuses in our city. So why not enjoy a fun, spirited competition against schools that most junior colleges would never have a chance to compete against. The Sharon and Ross Irwin Invitational hosted several schools which made the trip from distance points across the nation to compete on the bluff over-looking the Pacific Ocean. In attendance were Allegany College (Pennsylvania), Middlebury College and George Fox (Oregon), Soka University, San Marcos, Westmont, Vanguard, , UCSD, PLNU and the Jags.
In a ten team scoring meet, Southwestern College was the only community college school. The men’s team finished a respectable fifth while the women only competed in a select number of events, trailed the field in points in tenth place. Going into the fourth competition of the season and a down week training due to the fast approaching spring-break, the meet yielded several outstanding performances by our men and women Jags.
On the track, Carlos Ponce continued his outstanding season by winning the men’s 5000m in 15:48.93. Sophomore Wilber Camacho finished overall third in 110m hurdles 15.93 and Michael Hendricks was sixth overall in 16.80. Sophomore Paula Aleman finished fourth in 400mh closing in the school record. Starting off the day, the men’s 4 x 100m relay finished third in a season best 44.31 having Sophomore Denzel Brown joining the quartet for the first time this season.
Freshman Branden Greene finished a disappointing second in the men’s high jump. It was disappointing for us and a thrill for his competitors because he clearly was the class of the field. Clearing the bar by what appeared to be several inches if not a foot above, only to brush the bar on the way down. On Monday, his coach Olympian Jaime Nieto quickly evaluated the situation and made the necessary corrections for his next competition.
However, Branden found his wings in the men’s long jump besting the field with a leap of 6.50m or 21’ 3-3/4”, while Sophomore Geno Simmons continues to struggle in the long jump, finishing fifth but placing a respectable fourth in the triple-jump.
In the throws, Freshman Aron Conde had a banner day, making the finals in each of his three events against collegians that clearly have been doing those events for more years and possessing more experience. Freshman Gary Birtwell, while not having the best day, had a monster throw in the men’s hammer just going foul of the sector and nearly going over the cliff to the ocean below to everyone’s delight.
Freshman Justin Smith cleared 11’ 0” in the pole-vault to finish fifth in the pole-vault. Justin continues to learn the event and inch higher each week.
SWC vs CUYAMACA VS PALOMAR Scoring Meet
@ Cuyamaca College
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Events start at 9:30 am
March 20, 2013
PASADENA RELAYS ONLY meet (2/22/13)
Our first track meet of the year was held at Pasadena City College on a cool night north of downtown Los Angeles. In this meet, only select field events were held and on the track, only relays races were offered. This was a perfect set-up for the first meet of the year. By contesting only relays, the chance for injury was greatly reduced and the team was able to “bond” for some fun yet competitive races. Long Beach City, El Camino, East LA, Trade Tech, Mt. Sac and Pasadena colleges competed with our team in 20 relay races and 18 throwing events.
Freshman Branden Greene topped the field in his winning high jump effort of 6’4” then also found himself ahead of the field in the long jump with a bound of 21’ ½” which won his flight and placed in seventh overall for the day. Other notable performances came from Geno Simmons finished 5th in the Triple Jump. Additionally, Freshman Aron Conde placed a respectable 6th in Discus throw with a toss of 33.21m.
SAN DIEGO COLLEGIATE CHALLENGE (3/9/13)
On the beautiful UCSD campus in La Jolla hills, this was our first test against other community college schools and universities. Competing for city bragging rights were SDSU, PLNU, San Marcos, USD, Palomar, Cuyamaca, UCSD and Southwestern in a standard events track meet. In front of a packed bleacher of athletes, coaches and fans, the lady and men Jags took on the challenge with honor and vigor. Branden Greene continued his winning ways as he won the men’s high jump event in a season best of 6’ 6 ¾” and placing second in the long jump in 21’ 11 ½”. Teammate Geno Simmons finished 7th in the long jump and a season best in the triple jump 43’ 7 ¾”. Other highlights included Charlie Ponce’s 4:10.07 in the men’s 1500m which gave him top junior college runner honors for the day. Others that topped the field for community colleges were Wilber Camacho’s 5th place in the 110m high hurdles, Denzel Brown’s 7th place in the 100m, Paula Aleman’s 5th place in the women’s 400m hurdles and a personal record and outstanding run from Pamela Castro in the women’s 800m placing 10th overall with a fine time of 2:26.38. Finally, we had one school record broken in the women’s pole-vault. Freshman Korin Chapman smashed the record by over three feet with a leap of 10’ ¾”. Congratulations to all.
SDSU AZTEC INVITATIONAL (3/16/13)
The Aztec Invitational track meet continues to rebuild and become one of the most competitive track events in the country. Head Coach, Olympian Sheila Burrell should be proud of the teams she brought in from across the country to compete and give fans a taste of high level track and field. So too, should the men and women of the Southwestern Jaguar’s team be proud. Wilber Camacho lead the best results category for the Jags with his heat winning win in the 110m hurdles of 15.64, Tyler Anderson cracked the 25 second mark winning his heat of the men’s 200m in 24.76.
Paula Aleman continues to compete with the best and place high coming in 3rd in the women’s 400m hurdles in 1:07.54. Geno Simmons continues to soar in the men’s triple jump, bounding 13.11m. However, the best mark of the day had to go to Freshman Korin Chapman in the women’s pole-vault as she once again set a school record and placed 15th overall amongst some big names and big schools. Great job to all.
Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring meet
@ Point Loma Nazarene University
March 23, 2013
Field Events start at 9:00 am,
Running Events start at 11:35am