SAN DIEGO, CA — The East Los Angeles College Huskies men’s track and field team took fifth place in the men’s javelin throw at the CCCAA Track and Field State Championships today at San Diego Mesa College.
The Huskies tied for 31st place with College of the Redwoods out of 40 community college teams that qualified for the State Championships.
Last week the Huskies tied for 18th place with Santa Barbara City College at the Southern California Championships held at Antelope Valley College.
Sophomore Cesar Santiesteban (Cathedral High School) placed fifth at the state finals in the javelin on his sixth and final attempt to vault to fifth place and finished ahead of higher seeds according to Head Coach Louis Ramirez.
According to ELAC Throwers Coach Liz Herrera, Santiesteban had no pressure competing in the javelin. “He began the javelin this year, but his focus was the shot put, which he was sharp in,” said Herrera. “That he began the javelin this year and finished No. 5 in the state goes a long way in saying how dedicated he was and how hard he worked. This means a lot to me as a coach.”
Santiesteban threw 168.93 feet in the state finals to place ahead of several statewide throwers with farther throws throughout the season.
“Cesar came to ELAC a diamond in rough with never having competed in track and field,” said Volunteer Coach Ernesto Zuniga. “He’s a natural talented athlete and it was a pleasure to work with someone like him.”
Zuniga, an assistant T&F coach for years at ELAC, worked with Santiesteban, as did Herrera. Santiesteban grew into a decathlete and was one event away from advancing to the state finals in the decathlon, but withdrew.
In the SoCal Championship Finals, Santiesteban placed second in the javelin with a throw of 183.96 feet. He was the final qualifier out of the Prelims last week probably because he forgot his javelin shoes and threw 154.36 feet. With his shoes intact during the SoCal Finals, he threw a lifetime best.
Also at SoCal, Santiesteban took 10th place in the shot put finals with a throw of 45.28 feet. He placed fifth in the Prelims. In the Prelims discus, Santiesteban threw 133 feet and without the proper shoes. He did not qualify for the Finals because he was eliminated in the first flight.
ELAC qualified three men to SoCal in six events, similar to last season when the Huskies qualified four men in six events.
Sophomore Cristian Flores (Bell Gardens HS), the fourth seed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase run, fell during the SoCal Prelims race and could not finish. The trainers had to drive him off the track.
“It was an unlucky day for Cristian, who was seeded to qualify for state,” said Head Coach Louis Ramirez. “His hard work qualified him in two events at SoCal.”
Flores also qualified in the 10,000-meter distance run, but opted to focus on the steeplechase, his best event, according to Ramirez.
Sophomore Justin Flores (Alhambra HS), a two-sport ELAC athlete, placed 12th in his Prelims heat and had the ELAC contingent on their feet rooting him on.
“It was a great season for the team. We placed fourth at the South Coast Conference Championships and moved on to SoCal then State,” said Ramirez.
submitted by Tadzio Garcia