King City Pair Lead Panthers at Oxy Distance Festival

Edgar Bonilla leads the 1500m at Occidental College.
Edgar Bonilla leads the 1500m at Occidental College.
The Panther track & field team headed in two different directions Friday in hopes of finding the best competition for sprint and distance events. A large contingent of distance runners headed south to Pasadena for the Occidental Spring Break Distance Carnival while a small group of athletes returned to Cupertino for the DeAnza College Invitational. Both sites produced numerous season bests along with qualifying four Panthers automatically for May's CCCAA State Championship in Sacramento.

In Pasadena, sophomore Eduardo Orozco made huge strides in his development with a lifetime best 1:53.77 in the 800 meters to place second overall among community college students. The mark is a state automatic qualifier and moves Orozco to sixth all-time in school history just ahead of local legend Dick Casper. Fellow sophomore and former King City High School teammate Edgar Bonilla also earned a state qualifying mark running a lifetime best 3:57.45 in the 1500 meters to be the fastest community college finisher of the competition. Jorge Sanchez joined the exclusive sub 15:00 5000 meter run club with his 14:57.05. The mark is the seventh best in school history and puts Sanchez into the state championship. He was a state finalist and eighth place finisher at 10,000 meters last spring. Joining him in the 5000 meters, Edgar Bonilla returned to the track later in the evening to dip under the State "B" mark with his 15:17.17 pulling Oscar Mora, Jr. (15:19.99) also under the standard.  Andrew Martinez (15:25.35), and Patrick Olson (15:27.02) were all close behind. Yvette Felix highlighted the ladies efforts with a lifetime best 18:21.06 that improved on her state qualifying time from the previous week by 17 seconds. Felix is now ranked third in Northern California and eighth all-time in school history. Beatriz Duarte (19:19.34), Jocelyn Cervantes (19:20.87) and Olivia Jimenez (19:37.14) all enjoyed significant season bests moving them up the conference rankings. Adam Alnazer (2:00.33) and Elizabeth Hernandez (2:28.83) had season bests in the 800 meters with Sergio Coronel (4:08.71) lowering his best in the 1500 meters. Williams Ordaz (15:47.60), Eduardo Orozco (15:49.34), and Jonathan Saldana (15:52.09) all dipped under the 16:00 mark in the 5000 meters.

In Cupertino, Joziah Garcia lead the Panthers in the sprints with two lifetime bests at 400 (50.23) and 200 (22.58) meters. He was followed by Jordan Rodriguez in the 200 meters (22.83). Rodriguez also sprinted to 11.22 in the 100 meters. Haley Romero recorded a top 20 all-time mark in her first 100 meters of the season (12.92). Angel Mejia, Jr. lowered his season best in the 1500 meters (4:16.28) with Clemente Villareal prepping for his decathlon with a 110 hurdles season best (16.84). David Thompson took four seconds off his 400 hurdles (1:01.09).

The Panthers will next head to the San Joaquin Valley for the College of the Sequoias Relays on Saturday, March 18.