Sarah Van Buskirk
The La Verne track and field team was absent from the standings during Azusa Pacific College’s Last Chance two day meet at Citrus Stadium starting on May 13 but four Leopards made their marks, shining through from the rest of the team’s quiet performance.
Junior hurdler Zachary Reid has excelled throughout the season and placed fifth in the men’s 110 hurdles with a time of 14.45 seconds. Reid pushed past his recent time barrier, cutting over two-tenths of a second from his previous races.
“I thought my start was all right, but after I finished my team was saying that I got an absolutely amazing start,” Reid said. “With my start being as good as it was, it propelled me into each hurdle and I was making sure I stayed aggressive, which helped me finish all the way through where I needed to be.”
Freshman jumper Zackery Deering-Haddix scaled the high jump crossbar at a height of 1.99 meters, or 6-6, for the eighth spot on the leaderboard.
“This meet was a little bit more competitive than what we usually see in conference as we were going against bigger Division I schools,” Deering-Haddix said. “So knowing that I knew I had to stay a lot more focused.”
Deering-Haddix said his goal for his next meet is to be his personal record of 6-8 and reach 6-9.
The Leopards sustained their orbit in the air with junior jumper Olivia Magby, whose struggle with injury has not restricted her ability to show her hard work and determination from beginning to end.
Magby placed 10th in women’s high jump at a peak of 1.57 meters, or 5-1.
“I performed the best I have so far this season,” Magby said. “Each bar that I cleared, I cleared on my first attempt. It definitely helps in the process of not wasting jumps.”
Magby said that her next meet will be her final meet of her athletic career. Even though she is currently a junior, her journey with scoliosis has issued her to close the chapter of track and field in her life.
Sophomore sprinter Ivan Estrada, who has aided the merit of the men’s 4×400 relay as a leg in the race, placed 27th out of 40 runners in the men’s 100-meter dash. Estrada crossed the finish line with a time of 11.11 seconds.
“I ran the race exactly how my coaches told me to, with drive and with top-end speed,” Estrada said. “It all worked out because I won my heat, so overall I am really happy with my season’s performance.”
Currently, five Leopards have tentatively secured themselves a spot as a participant in the NCAA National Championships. Out of 50 competitors in each event, the Top 20 will be in the running to a national title.
La Verne’s qualifiers are Reid for the men’s 110-meter hurdles, Deering-Haddix for the men’s high jump, freshman sprinter T.K. Herhe for the men’s 10,000-meter and the men’s 5,000-meter, sophomore distance runner Michael Sahagun for the men’s 5,000-meter and freshman Mira Juncaj in the combined events for the 100-meter hurdles.
As the Leopards wrap up their season, they traveled to the Ashel Cunningham Track for the Redlands Final Qualifier and last Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet on Wednesday and Thursday. The results were not available at press time.
The three-day NCAA National Championships will be hosted by Grand Valley State University in Michigan on May 26-28.
Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at email@example.com.