Freshman T.K. Herhe turned in an extraordinary performance Saturday at the Occidental Invitational, setting a new University of La Verne school record for the men’s 5,000-meter race. It was just one of several high-ranking performances at the meet.
Herhe ran three miles through the streets of Los Angeles in a time of 14:33.03, placing 14th out of 77 runners.
“Right before the race I realized I had forgotten to check in and I was worried this race might not count for me because I didn’t have my number,” Herhe said. “But once they said my name when I took the lead I thought, ‘OK, maybe I still have a chance.’”
In the last five laps of the race Herhe was in the lead, and in the final three laps he found himself going head-to-head with a runner from the University of Southern California.
“On the very last lap he took the lead from me and started bridging a gap,” Herhe said. “But in the last 100 meters I passed him, and I saw that I broke the school record. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.”
Some other high leveled Leopards soared presenting themselves high on the pedestal.
Sophomore hurdler Zachary Reid hit the top of the leaderboard in the second consecutive weekend for the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.69.
Junior David Lara hit No.1 in the men’s javelin, throwing 45.81 meters for the second-best throw in his career.
Freshman Zackery Deering-Haddix reached 2.03 meters in the men’s high jump, ranking third and extending his NCAA Championship winner probability.
Sophomore distance runner Dante Carter continued his hot streak, placing fifth in the men’s 100-meter with a time of 10.94.
“When I saw my competition I was excited because I wanted to see how hard I could push myself,” Carter said. “I embrace a challenge and I don’t sleep on the underdogs, so when I see better competition I stay looking forward.”
For the women’s high jump, it was Leopard dominated.
Freshman Mira Juncaj participated in the combined events and sophomore jumper Olivia Magby tied for fourth with a height of 1.50 meters.
Following behind was freshman sprinter Ha’ani Untalan in seventh with the same height of 1.50 meters.
The Leopards will continue to take control of the rankings as they travel to Azusa Pacific for the Last Chance meet Friday and Saturday for their second to last meet before the NCAA Championships.
—Sarah Van Buskirk