Greene Energy: Women’s distance runner climbs City’s all-time ranks

City College freshman Daryia Greene currently ranks second overall in the Big 8 Conference in the 800-meter run. | Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

Jason Reed

Staff Writer

Jkreed.express@gmail.com

 

With five track meets already at an end and more to come, freshman Daryia Greene is looking to continue the success she’s already started for the City College women’s track and field team.

On March 17, during the Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State, Greene cracked the City College all-time Top 10 list in the 800-meter run, finishing with a new personal record of 2 minutes, 21.51 seconds.

“I am extremely thankful to be able to run at this level,” Greene said when learning the significance of her latest finish. “Knowing that the title for the No. 1 spot on the all-time list is so close makes me want to push myself harder.”

Greene refers to the mark of 2:16.33, City’s fastest 800 time, that was set by current cross-country assistant coach Amanda Rodriguez in 2015.

Greene’s time has improved with each race this season. Her new time in the 800 moved her into 11th place in the state, according to directathletics.com. Greene trails only Santa Rosa’s Kassia Chagnon, who is in first place with the time of 2:21.27 in the Big 8 Conference.

Daryia Greene practices her readiness for getting out of the starting blocks March 29 near Land Park. Greene has improved on each of her 800 times so far this season. | Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

Head coach Marissa Avendano believes the reason Greene has come along so fast is her willingness to accept new ideas.

“The word that I would use to describe her is open,” says Avendano. “She’s open to just pretty much anything. She’s willing to try it and dig deeper to whatever it is.”

Greene credits the experience of running with student-athletes from four-year colleges as being instrumental in helping her improve and get better each race. She says it all started at the Aggie Open March 10 at UC Davis, when she looked at the time sheets of athletes from Division I schools and saw how impressive their times were.

“I was terrified,” says Greene. “But it was a good type of terrified, where I am excited to run with these girls who are so much faster than me.”

Finishing sixth overall among dozens of Division I competitors at the Aggie Open was extra motivating for Greene, and she said it gives her confidence to be able to push through any upcoming challenge throughout the remainder of the season.

During cross-country season in the fall, Greene managed to improve her times in each 3- and 5-mile run throughout the season, despite suffering through early shin splints.

“Being a collegiate athlete is hard work and turmoil on the body,” says Greene’s teammate and close friend Chidinma Nwokocha. “Suffering from injury gave her a first taste of not only that but the sheer realization that track is not always ups. There are downs, too.”

In the Big 8 Cross-Country Championships Oct. 27 at Oak Grove Park in Stockton, Greene finished 11th overall after she overtook two American River College runners in the final stretch, giving her team a crucial point swing to secure the team’s second consecutive conference title.

“Daryia brings positivity to the team,” says cross-country and track teammate Jasmine Loyola. “It is ridiculous how optimistic she is, and it just brings everybody up. She’s just a positive person.”

Running in the 400 for the first time this season March 30 at San Francisco State, Greene finished second overall at 56.55. At the March 16 Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State, she was able to run 55 seconds in the 4×400-meter relay with teammates Nwokocha, Lauren Smith and Kiara Flenoid.

Greene can move to ninth place in the 800 if she can beat 2:21.05, which was a record set by Shelley Dunlap in 1984.   

With first place in the Big 8 so close, Greene said she will be paying more attention to who’s in her race. She will be looking for Chagnon moving forward in anticipation to surpass her time.

“I just want to drop my time by as much as I can,” Greene says. “It’s a bit nerve-wracking… but I’m really excited.”