By Robert Roselle III
By Robert Roselle III
After last season’s state title, the Riverside City College men’s Track team has one goal in mind for this season: repeat.
The team clinched its third consecutive Orange Empire Conference championship and is looking to try and win back-to-back state championships.
Last season, the Tigers won the state title by the widest margin in 10 years.
In his four years as head coach, Jim McCarron has improved on each of his previous years.
His first season saw the team finish ranked 28th in the state.
The following year, McCarron led the team to the first of two consecutive conference championships and finished the year ranked third in the state.
Last year, the Tigers won it all, winning every meet and capturing the state title.
The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the preseason. Being ranked on top makes them a target for other teams.
McCarron used this as motivation for his team.
“It’s a good motivational factor for the student-athletes,” he said. “What it does, it keeps them on their toes.”
Sophomore Daniel Auberry doesn’t spend too much time thinking about rankings.
“I don’t really worry about it too much,” he said. “I just keep trying my hardest to do the best I can do.”
McCarron also suggests that having other teams gunning for them is not the only motivation for the Tigers.
“The biggest is academics,” he said. “If they continue to do well academically and focus in the classroom, they will be able to write their ticket to a university.”
The Tigers have been dominant in many meets this season, in some cases winning meets by 50 points.
McCarron insists that it has not been as easy as it looks.
“We work our butts off no matter who the competition is,” McCarron said. “We have been pushed a couple of times when we’ve gone up against the universities, so it has been a lot of help to keep us motivated.”
On April 17, the Tigers competed in the Orange Empire Conference Championship preliminaries.
They dominated in the events, putting up 92 points.
This total put the team 37 points ahead of Orange Coast and in position to win its third OEC title.
The Tigers placed in the top three in the 100 meters and had six of the nine finalists led by Auberry, Beidi Beer and Norman Boyd.
RCC also had five finalists in the 200 meters, four finalists in both the 100 high hurdles and the 400 high hurdles and three finalists in the 1500 meters.
RCC won three of the six final events.
The high jump was won by Wayne West.
Girgio Bryant won the long jump and Daniel Cooper won the 3000 meters steeplechase.
On April 24, The Tigers ran away with the conference title.
The team earned 317 points, which was more than double the points of Orange Coast College, who finished in second place.
As they keep the focus of “repeat” fresh in their mind, RCC will begin defending its title at the Southern California Prelims, which are scheduled for May 2 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
The California State Championships are scheduled for May 15 and May 16 in San Mateo.