Women's Track & Field

DVC TRACK AND FIELD READY TO STATE ITS CASE

After an outstanding season last year, the Diablo Valley College track and field teams are raising their goals.
“Last year, we had NorCal goals. This year, we have state goals,” DVC track and field coach Kyle Whitmore said.
The Vikings return a CCCAA state champion in Strangenae Campbell. She won the women’s 100 meters in 11.44 seconds and also placed second in the 200 in 23.78 last year.
Already in this young season, Campbell anchored the women’s 400 relay team to a time of 48.40 at Riverside City College on Feb. 3. She also ran an outstanding early-season time in the 100 (11.82) in cold and cloudy conditions at Monterey Peninsula College on Feb. 18.
“Her fitness level is scary,” Whitmore said.
Jordan Hinds, another member of that 400 relay team, is well versed in all the sprinting events, Whitmore said. The sophomore can run the 100, 200 or 400 well.
Tia Harper, the defending Big 8 conference champion in the women’s 400, ran the event in 59.39 at the De Anza Open invitational on Feb. 25. Harper also runs for the 400 relay team, along with Anyel Thomas. The women’s 1,600 relay team consists of Harper, Hinds, Angelina Daza-Sanchez and Campbell.
Another returner is steeplechaser Laura Becerra, who placed sixth in the women’s steeplechase in the CCCAA NorCal Championships last season.
“We are really solid, from sprints all the way up to long distance. We will even have some heptathletes. We are really well-rounded” Whitmore said.
Key newcomers include Christine Bayliss and Ariana Corwin, who will run either the 1,500 or the 5,000, Whitmore said. Both are freshmen in eligibility who will be transferring at the end of the school year, Whitmore said. Bayliss produced a time of 5:09.89 in the 1,500 at the De Anza Open recently.
Thomas, a sophomore transfer from Santa Barbara City College, will also be competing in the heptathlon. Whitmore described Thomas as a “powerful athlete” who has done many events.
Jessica Johnson, a freshman, ran a personal record of 21.64 in the 200 on Feb. 18, and provides depth in the 200 and 400. Aishah Ahmad, also a freshman, is a promising hurdler, Whitmore said.
The Vikings men’s team is very deep this season with 41 active athletes. Among the returners is Geoffrey Weseman, who placed fourth in the men’s 800 at the state championships. At the Riverside meet on Feb. 3, he ran a rare 600 race in 1:22.89. “He’s already on his PR pace for the 800,” Whitmore said.
Weseman produced a personal-record time of 1:52.72 in the 800 at the NorCal championships last season.
Another returner is Nigel Burnett, who produced a personal record of 10.65 in the 100 at Monterey Peninsula College on Feb. 18. At the De Anza Open, he clocked another PR in the 200 (21.96).
Lionel White set a personal record last year in the 100 (10.76). He also runs the 200 and is a returner from the men’s 400-relay team last season, along with Burnett. Isaiah Mobley was the top placing freshman in the 400 final at last year’s NorCal championships, and he produced a personal record of 48.66 in the event in the preliminaries.
Corey Gilbert is solid in both the discus and the shot put. He won both events, with marks of 157 feet, 10 inches and 45-2 ½ respectively, at the Monterey Peninsula meet on Feb. 18.
There are also three key sophomores who redshirted last year.
Jerrick Bernstine was part of the DVC men’s 1,600 relay squad which set a school record in 2015 (3:12.98). In addition to running the 200, Bernstine is part of a deep men’s 400 talent pool for the Vikings, which Whitmore believes can win the state title in the 1,600 relay. DVC was third in the state championships last season (3:15.58).
Antwuin Prowes was the state runner-up in the 800 in 2015 (1:52.76). He improved his personal record to 1:51.57 as an open athlete last year. He also has a fast personal record of 47.97 in the 400, and set a personal record in the 200 (21.38) at the De Anza Open this season.
Zealoun Edwards, a transfer from College of San Mateo who sat out last season, also set a pair of personal records at the De Anza Open last Saturday: 22-10 in the long jump and 49-5 in the triple jump. Harrison Kwong also produced a personal record in the long jump Saturday (22-6).
Freshman Dion Collier set a personal record of 10.63 in the 100 last year in his senior season at Merrill West High in Tracy. Redshirt freshman Mousawer Safi, a 100/200 runner, ran a time of 10.93 in the 100 at the Vikings’ Feb. 18 meet.
The distance corps is bolstered by freshmen Sayed Opeyany, Kevin Orellana and Ian Rider. Redshirt freshman Joseph Malott competed in the California high school state championships in the pole vault in 2015.
The Vikings placed in the top 12 as teams in the state championships last year. Whitmore said that both squads are looking to improve their team places in the Big 8 championships, the NorCal championships and the state championships.
Note: A number of coaches on the DVC track and field staff have experience competing on the NCAA Division I level. Meia Tezeno (UNLV) is the associate women’s head coach, Chalese Davis (South Carolina) is the horizontal jumps coach, Rajpaul Pannu (Saint Mary’s College) is the distance coach and Lauryn Newson (Oregon) is a sprint coach.
-- Phil Jensen, DVC sports correspondent

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