Sophomores run last races in Modesto — Laney team competes and excels at Northern California Track an Field Championships
by staff writer Luke Wrin Piper
It felt like the last day of school. The California Community College Athletic Association Northern California Track and Field Championships on May 10 were the last meet of the 2019 season for the Laney team.
Community college athletes are a rare breed. One year you’re the new kid and the next year you’re the veteran. The night went well for the team of four students and two coaches who made it out to Modesto Junior College on Friday.
“We set a great foundation in the fall,.” Crowley said. “We’ve made some really good bonds We’ve created a real family attitude. We do this thing as a family.”
It was the second championship experience for the two freshmen on the team, Gabi Henry and Shona Christensen. Next year they will take up the mantle of leading the team in the 2020 season.
“The sophomores become really committed to the process, to getting stronger as we go,” coach Robert Crowley said. “I would rather have an individual that wants to wear Laney across their chest, show up and work hard, than anything else. And that’s the kind of team we’ve had this year.”
Henry understands the weight of her role for the next season: helping the incoming freshmen find their strength on and off the track. “Be yourself.” said Henry. “A lot of being in college is trying to find yourself and people end up losing themselves along the way.
“A lot of freshmen need to understand that you have to be yourself in order to survive college. Because switching up who you are for somebody else doesn’t help you, it only hurts you along the way. In sports and in school, it’s not about what other people think or say about you, as long as you know who you are. “
The highlight of the night was the 4x400-meter relay. In this race, teams have four runners who run 400 meters, or one full lap each.
Sophomore Jasmine McNary ran the first leg for Laney. She got off to a quick start on the inside corner, staying near head of the pack. McNary passed it off to Zion Glasper who reached the straightaway in third place. Glasper handed it to Da’ja Archer who took off like a rocket, her long hair swinging behind her. Archer passed it to Henry, running the anchor leg, who crossed the finish line in fourth place. Sacramento City College finished in first place with a time of 3 minutes, 52.05 seconds.
Henry set a personal record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1 minute, 8.21 seconds, earning her a fourth-place medal.
At the end of the night, the team was relieved to have gotten through it. “My season is over, I want it to be over,” Archer said. “I need a vacation.”
Maiya Hutchinson (800-meter), Daniel Bessolo (400-meter), Braffer Morris (100-meter), and Andres Echeandia (400-meter hurdles) from Merritt College will be moving onto the CCCAA State Championships on May 17–18 in San Mateo. Laney did not qualify any athletes.