By Austin Turner
The Riverside City College track and field team made a statement at the Bob Larsen Distance Carnival & Jim Bush Legends Invitational at UCLA on March 30 and 31.
The Tigers crushed the competition, which included several NCAA Division 1 programs from top athletic conferences such as the PAC-12 and Big Ten. The meet reaffirmed RCC as one of the top track and field programs in California, a claim that they have been giving proof of all season long.
The men’s team put on a show as they clinched a victory by 15.5 points over University of Minnesota, a team which has Big Ten title aspirations this season.
RCC scored an incredible 237.5 points and were seperated from third place Cal State Los Angeles by a margin of 94.5 points. The Tigers ran away with the competition with a strong showing in relay events. They took victories in the 4×100 meter and 4×400 relays, which added crucial points to their total.
Freshman Antonio Mitchell has been a force this season for the Tigers and the Legends Invitational was no exception. Mitchell ran a blistering time of 10.46 seconds in the 100-meter dash and a 20.99 in the 200-meter, winning first place in both events. The Tigers also received second in the 200-meter, with freshman Keylan Dennis running a 21.14.
RCC took the top three spots in the non-D1 division in the 800 meter event, with sophomore Alec Hall taking first place at 1:52. Sophomore Anthony Garcia placed fourth overall and first in the non-D1 long jump with a distance of 6.72 meters.
The women’s team were equally impressive. They scored 189 points, good for a 14 point lead over second place UCLA. The Tigers, who placed fifth at the state meet last season, look to get back on top.
Leading the Tigers was sophomore Sarah Hollis, whose time of 11:41.17 in the 3000m steeplechase is the fastest recorded in the California Community College Athletic Association this season.
Freshman Mary Jane Smith had a spectacular day, running a 26.05 in the 200-meter and 57.71 in the 400-meter, good for third and first respectively.
Sophomore Karen Orozco was at the top of her game in the pole vault, winning the non-D1 competition with a jump of 3.1 meters.
RCC’s dominant performance cements them as a top community college track and field program. They will have plenty of time to tune-up for the Orange Empire Conference preliminaries on April 20 and Orange Empire Conference Finals on April 27.