EAST LA --- The East Los Angles College track and field team won five first places in the first two weeks of competition with results that indicate that ELAC could have its strongest team since 2002.
The 2002 team won the CCCAA men’s state title while the women’s team was the runner up.
Last year the women’s team placed 13th in the state finals while the men’s team finished 24th, which was the teams’ best finish since the 2003 season (men’s 10th at state, women’s 37th).
Two-time defending state champion (10,000-meter run, 3,000-meter steeplechase) Laura Aceves took first place in the women’s 3,000-meter run at the Mt. San Antonio College Opener on Feb. 6. It was then the fastest time in the nation among community college women.
Freshman Aminat Olowora of Southwestern College, a 2016 Nigerian Olympic hopeful, currently has the fastest time in the nation in the 3,000 run. Olowora won the 2014 women’s individual cross country title while Aceves, who was 2013 champion, took third.
The two have the fastest times in the state in the 10,000 run and Aceves has the third-best time in the nation in the steeplechase.
ELAC freshman Ramiro Arreola is undefeated in two meets winning the shot put event at the Opener and the Cross Town Relays at Cerritos College Feb. 21. He also had a second place finish in the discus at Cerritos.
Two freshmen took first places in the steeplechase at the Opener, Andrew Perez in the men’s event and Emily Ruiz in the women’s race.
Freshman Kaniya Bawlson won the women’s 100-meter dash also at the Opener almost a second faster than runner-up freshman Destiny Morton of Mt. SAC. ELAC freshman Alease Wilson took third place.
Bawlson currently has the No. 2 high jump in the state, which helped her to a 4th place finish in her first-ever heptathlon competition at Cerritos College last Saturday.
“I was nervous in my first college heptathlon experience, but just focused and had fun out there,” said Bawlson. “The experience motivated me to work even harder in training.”