Of the 14 Long Beach City College Track and Field athletes who competed in the 2015 Southern California Championship Finals on Saturday at Cerritos College, three will advance to compete in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Track and Field State Championship meet on May 15 and 16.
Sophomore Jared Jones, who shaved nearly six seconds off his prelims time to take third place in the SoCal finals at 9:26:84, qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and is seeded fifth for the state championships. The steeplechase final is scheduled for 1:05PM on Saturday.
Jones joined the LBCC track and field program this season knowing he was fast enough to potentially contribute to the team, but said he didn’t expect the chance to compete at the state finals.
“They gave me extra time after practice to train and get ready for the steeplechase,” he said. “I just felt really lucky that I found myself in this position. I know I worked hard, but I had a lot of help from the coaches."
Freshman Chantel Dunson (pictured) finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 11.19 meters and is seeded fourth for the state finals (36’ 8.5”). The triple jump is scheduled for 11AM on Saturday.
Dunson joined the team as a sprinter, but soon found she had a knack for the triple jump. Going into the SoCal finals with little to no practice, she said she competed well, although it wasn’t her best mark. Going into the CCCAA meet this weekend, Dunson said she plans to leave it all on the track.
“I feel a lot more confident going into this week because I’ve had a lot of practice,” she said. “I’m going in expecting a lot. I want to at least hit over 38 feet and to finish in at least the top five, I’d like top three, but definitely top five.”
The men’s 4x100-meter relay team, composed of Travis Thomas, Jordan Noble, Damond Burns (pictured) and Jacob Thorton, finished sixth with a time of 42:00, just one spot short of being able to qualify for state. However, the fifth place team, College of the Canyons, did not post a qualifying mark during the season, which will allow the Vikings (who already posted a qualifying mark) to go ahead of the Canyons and compete in the state meet.
Burns competed in four events at the SoCal finals and placed seventh in all of them except the 4x100.
"My uniform jersey says seven and my shorts say four so it was just ironic," Burns said. "And I just thought, ‘Dang, I guess that’s just what it was meant to be and it wasn’t my time yet.’"
He said when his teammate told him he qualified, "I was like, ‘Man, stop playing with me.’ Like I’m already sad enough, you know? And he was like, ‘No, I’m serious.’"
Burns credited his coaches—Edgar Lightbourn, Bayano Kamani, and Brandon Thomas—with pushing him to be his best.
The relay team took the ninth and final spot to move forward to the state finals and will compete at 1:55PM on Saturday.
“We’re going to give it our all,” said Burns. “Our coaches pushed us hard all season. And they got everything they could out of us, so it was like a Cinderella way to top the season off."
The Viking men totaled 23.33 points to finish 13th place in the final team standings. For the women, Dunson’s second place triple jump finish landed her in fourth place for the state finals, while sophomore Danasia Richard finished sixth place for the 100 meter event, placing the Viking women in 18th for the final team standings.
Jones, Dunson and the men's 4x100 relay team will be heading north to the Bay Area Thursday to compete at College of San Mateo for the CCCAA State Championship meet.
Southern California Championship Finals, May 10, 2015 – Cerritos College
*- State Championship qualifiers
Jose Ochoa, Javelin, 8th, 48.50 meters
Jacob Thorton, High Jump, 8th, 1.87 meters
*Jared Jones, 3000-meter Steeplechase, 3rd, 9:26.84
*4x100-meter relay (Travis Thomas, Jordan Noble, Damond Burns, Jacob Thorton), 6th, 42.00
Justin Weaver, 1500 meters, 12th, 4:21.36
Damond Burns, 100 meters, 7th, 10.83
Phillip Powell, 800 meters, 6th, 1:55.46
Travis Thomas, 400-meter hurdles, 5th, 54.59
Damond Burns, 200 meters, 7th, 22.07
Omar Torres, 5000 meters, 12th, 15:42.68
4x400-meter relay (Damond Burns, Travis Thomas, Phillip Powell, Justin Weaver)
Omar Torres, 10000 meters, 10th, 32:16.44
*Chantel Dunson, Triple Jump, 2nd, 11.19 meters
Danasia Richard, 100 meters, 6th, 12.25
4x100-meter relay (Chantel Dunson, Danasia Richard, Deborahnay Love, Sharone Nora), DQ
Photos courtesy of Chris Ruiz, LBCC sports information specialist.