By Ruben Gallegos, Staff Writer
By Ruben Gallegos, Staff Writer
As two-time defending state champions, the Riverside City College men’s track team is gearing up for a third consecutive championship.
The team began its state title pursuit this season with a dominating performance at Wheelock Field, posting a 143-11 victory over Santiago Canyon Feb. 12.
RCC went on to defeat Saddleback College with a 111-22 victory Feb. 26, and continued to run past Golden West College on March 12, with a score of 137-16.
“Right now we are ranked No. 1 in the state,” coach Jim McCarron said. “If we come together as a team and we continue to work hard we have a very good chance to three-peat.”
So who are the athletes that compose such a prominent program?
“In the 100 and 200 there are three guys to look for, and they are Tommy Curry, Kenny Jackson, and Duke Greer,” McCarron said. “Anyone of those guys has an opportunity to win state this year.”
Returning sophomore, Tommy Curry took first place in his first appearance on the track this season, with a time of 10.86 seconds in the men’s 100-meter dash.
“I’m just getting back in shape,” Curry said. “I’m, just trying to win for the team, more than anything for the championship.”
“Tommy is one of the fastest returning 100 and 200 meter runners and should make a big impact for us,” McCarron said.
The Tigers have also found talent in their younger athletes, such as freshmen Kenny Jackson and Cory Corder. Jackson, who posted an astounding 10.77 seconds in the men’s 60-meter dash at the Saddleback meet on Feb. 26, has also managed to post the teams top times in the 100 and 200-meter dash.
Corder demonstrated his value to the team, finishing second in the 110-meter hurdles against Mt. San Antonio College with a time of 14.81 seconds.
“Corey stepped up big because Mt. SAC has a really good hurdle group, and he got in there and beat most of their guys,” McCarron said. “I really see him as being someone who has grown up a lot from last year to now, he works hard, he believes in the program, and I see him having a chance to make the state meet.”
Several students on the track team devote themselves to practice at 6:45 in the morning every day, and then pull two-a-day practices in the evening.
The coaching staff expects athletes to dedicate themselves to success, and uses their future as motivation, as they sweat through the demanding training.
“I plan to go to a (division-one) college, and I plan to get first place in all the events that I’m in,” Curry said.
Mt. San Antonio holds the men’s track record with six consecutive titles from 1997 to 2002, but RCC continues to press forward one meet at a time, positioning them in the lead for this season thus far.
“Last year when we were at the state championship everything was sort of going all bad and so this year I’m preparing for the worst,” Curry said. “But I know we’re starting to come together as a whole”
Another member of the already powerful team is Jeffrey Pelarde. a sophomore out of Poly High School.
He posted a time of 14:50. 94 at the Ben Brown Invitational on March 5.
Pelarde, ranked third in the state in cross country, described the team’s development in talented players, both freshmen and sophomores, who have stepped up to improve the team as a whole.
“We are (going to) go in there with no fear of anybody and hopefully take it,” said Jeffrey Pelarde. “We are the state champions so we will just prove it and keep showing it.”
The team faces some of the highest ranked competition in the state this season, but expects nothing less than the state title in May at the state championships to be held at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster.