The Leopards placed in 11 different events, to include two first place finishes at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Track and Field Championship held at Burns Track in Claremont on Saturday and Sunday.
The Leopards track and field team finished sixth overall , Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took first place in the championship.
The first day of the meet included mostly preliminary races, but some Leopards were able to claim a couple of prizes in on the initial day of the championship.
Junior Elizabeth Prevedello took third place in the long jump, leaping to a distance of 5.56 meters.
Senior Rachael Dela Cruz took first place on Saturday in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase race, finishing with a personal best time of 11:12.02.
“I was really happy and just a lot of relief too because the last four years have been really hard for me,” said Dela Cruz. “It was really cool to have it all come together at the end and do it for the school, do it for my teammates, do it for everyone watching, and do it for myself too.”
Day two of the competition included the final races for the various events.
Junior Jade Griffin took first place in the women’s 400-meter race clocking in at 57.24, the third best time in La Verne history.
“I got out of blocks and I knew the girl ahead of me had the fastest time coming in, so I knew my strategy was to keep up with her and stay with her,” said Griffin. “The backstretch towards home is my strongest part of the race and I know no one in the league beat me on that. I just trusted the process and I kicked at the end and ended up getting her.”
Griffin also finished third in the 200-meter clocking in at 25.35.
Senior Melissa Cerrillos placed second in the women’s 1500-meter with a personal best time of 4:40.54, the third best time in La Verne history for that event.
“This was my (personal record), my lifetime best” said Cerrillos. “I basically covered everybody’s moves and executed exactly how I wanted to so it’s really exciting for me.”
Cerrillos, who usually competes in the Steeplechase, says she used the 1,500 as her way to help prepare herself mentally, physically, and competitively for her main event, which she hopes to qualify for nationally.
Senior Kyle Ambat placed second in the triple jump, jumping to a distance of 13.96 meters.
“Today was about being consistent, I just got off injury,” said Ambat. “I think finishing all my jumps feeling good was the big part.”
Sophomore Matthew Salas placed second in the 800-meter with a time of 1:52.65.
“I did pretty well, I got second place in this race in a very competitive field. Many of these guys are nationally ranked,” said Salas. “At the moment, we’re not as large as a team to Claremont or Pomona-Pitzer, or Occidental. But it doesn’t matter what our size is, we proved that La Verne can compete with anyone no matter what their size is.”
Junior Matthew Pedroza finished third in the shot put, as well as posting personal bests in the discus and hammer throw.
Senior Micaela Krumweide finished third place in the triple jump and senior Ebony Turner finished third in the high jump.
Cerrillos, Griffin, Prevedello and senior Jessica Portillo added a third-place finish in the 4×400 meter relay.
The men’s and women’s teams both return to action at the Occidental Invitational at 11 a.m. May 11. They will then compete in the Redlands Last Chance Qualifier May 15-16, then the national championships May 23-25 in Geneva, Ohio.
Christopher Livingston can be reached at email@example.com.