Track and field season recap: Run through the tape

Crowned back-to-back champs of the track


Both the women’s and men’s track and field teams strike a familiar pose with their new championship banners. Via cgphoto_media.

Five weeks prior to the California Community College Athletic Association playoff meets, sophomore Amari Weatherford, freshmen Jaiden Hill and Tathiana Sprock puffed their chests out and, oozing with confidence, boasted that they would win the state championship and rattled off opponents who would be seeing nothing but the back of their cleats.

The opponents in question being Riverside, El Camino, Cerritos, San Diego Mesa, Southwestern, Chabot Community College, Modesto and Saddleback.
Freshmen Kerry Smith and Jake Jensen predicted with confidence that they would not only the conference meets but the state playoffs.

“We coming for that (expletive),” Jensen said.

They weren’t worried about any team or anyone. If they went out and handled their business like they knew they could, a repeat was inevitable. The entire program, from the coaching staff to the athletes, believed they would obliterate and dominate the competition.

As the reigning defending CCCAA champs, the Mounties arrived at Modesto Junior College for state championship playoffs with a bullseye on their backs and nothing but bringing home another banner in mind.

The Mounties have now won back-to-back state championships for both the men’s and women’s teams. Head Coach Giovanni Lanaro shared his thoughts on both teams capturing another state championship.

“I’m extremely proud of the men’s and women’s team for capturing the 2023 state track and field championships,” he said. “Both the men and the women scored the second highest score of all time. And having two of our athletes win most valuable player for their teams is a huge accomplishment.”

Let’s highlight some notable performances from the CCCAA playoff meet before reflecting on the season of success.

Ladies first.

Collectively, Mt. SAC tallied 151.5 points and finished ahead of the second place and current South Coast Conference champion, Cerritos College who finished with 84 points and nearly outscored third place San Diego Mesa College by 100 points. The Mounties turned in four first-place, seven second-place, three third-place performances and had the meet MVP.

Finishing first in their events were sophomore Amari Weatherford in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, freshman Jaiden Hill in the 400-meter dash and sophomore Ahnyx Bush in the triple jump event.

Sophomore Amari Weatherford solidified herself as one of the best sprinters in Mt. SAC history after finishing first in both of the events she dominated throughout the year, the 100 and 200-meter dash. Via cgphoto_media.

Second place finishes for the Mounties include Jaiden Hill in the 200-meter dash behind her teammate Weatherford, sophomore Trista Michael in the 800-meter dash, freshman Cyvanna Bowen in the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Bailie Horton in the pole vault event, Ahnyx Bush in the long jump and sophomore Summer Stevenson in the triple jump.

The 4×100 relay squad of freshman Tathiana Sprock, Weatherford, Hill and freshman Charisma Collins also finished second in the team event.

Bringing home third place finishes were freshman Natalyn Membreno in the 800-meter dash, sophomore Karla Galvan in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the 4×400 relay squad of Sprock, Weatherford, Michael and Hill.
Ahnyx Bush was named the field MVP of the meet for her dominating performance in the triple jump and long jump.

Now onto the fellas.

Accruing eight first place finishes, six second place, three third place wins and the meet MVP, the Mounties totaled 175.5 points with San Diego Mesa College finishing a distant second place with 110 points and Riverside City College coming in third place with 98 points.

Sophomore Matthew Mannino had arguably his best performance of the year as he finished second in the javelin throwing event. Via cgphoto_media.

Finishing first in their events for the Mounties were sophomore Jacob Williams in the 100-meter dash, freshman Kerry Smith Jr in the 200-meter dash, freshman Johnathon Zavala in the 10000-meter race, sophomore Marcus Monroe Jr in the high jump, sophomore Ethan Amata in the pole vault event and sophomore Namir Hemphill in the triple jump. The 4×100 relay squad of Hemphill, Smith, freshman Jake Jensen and Williams and the 4×400 relay squad of freshman Thomas Scrofano, Hemphill, sophomore Nick Felix and Smith both captured first place finishes.

Second place finishes included Jensen in the 200-meters behind his teammate Smith, Zavala in the 5000-meter race, sophomore Jered Beasley in the pole vault event, Monroe in the long jump, sophomore Terrence Sweetman in the triple jump behind fellow Mountie Hemphill and Matthew Mannino in the javelin throw.

Third place finishes included Jensen in the 100-meter dash, Felix in the 400-meters dash and freshman Christian Baker in the 110-meter hurdles.

There’s no doubt both of these teams will definitely go down as one of the most dominant teams in the state of California.

Zavala was named the men’s track MVP of the meet for his outstanding performance in the 5000-meter and 10000-meter races.
Sprints Coach John “JB” Bolton reflected on his team’s performance and season with pride and sincerity.

“To be honest, I am proud of the entire team. It takes a complete team to win a state championship,” he said. “Once you get to the state meet, every point means a ton. This was a team effort from all event groups. Every athlete played a big role this weekend, both in the men’s & women’s titles.”

Winning the state championship should not surprise. This team set a goal, stated what that goal was and went out and accomplished it. Dynasties are not meant to be taken for granted, but it happens when the expectations are championship or bust. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.