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Crowning Achievements! Panthers’ track and field claims 5 gold medals at NorCal Championships
Members of the City College women’s track team celebrate on the podium May 11 at Hughes Stadium after the NorCal Championships. The women’s team placed third overall, earning four individual gold medals. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

Nick Pecoraro

Sports Editor

[email protected]


Hughes Stadium served as host to both happiness and heartbreak for the City College men’s and women’s track and field teams during a gusty Friday for the Northern California Regional Championships.

Marisa Avendano’s women’s team took third overall behind Hartnell College and American River College while Rob Dewar’s men’s team placed 11th after participating in just three events.

The women’s team took gold in four different events, and the men’s team claimed one first-place finish Friday—all receiving automatic bids to compete in the state championship meet May 18–19 at Bakersfield College.

After fouling three times in her 2017 NorCal performance, Janessa Moses found redemption in 2018 after throwing a personal best 12.98 meters to become the NorCal women’s shot put champion. It was Moses’ second shot put victory this season and the eighth best distance in City College history.

City College throwers Janessa Moses (left) and Riley Cannon place first and second, respectively, in the shot put at the NorCal Championships at Hughes Stadium May 11. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

“I was overjoyed,” said Moses, who had the encouragement from her coaches throughout the season to earn a place on the podium.

“Last year, I had a conversation with her that she was going to get another chance this year” said Avendano. “We stayed very committed to her. We know what kind of athlete she is. She just needed to stay consistent. That was going to open things up in the ring here. Once they start becoming more consistent in other areas of their life, they really start believing. Now she’s a NorCal champion.”

Moses’ field teammate, Riley Cannon, who was the Big 8 shot put champion, finished second at 12.22 meters. Cannon also took fourth (34.67) in the discus throw Friday.

“If (Cannon had) gotten first place, I would’ve been just as juiced,” said Moses.

Trevor Holt was the gold medal winner in the men’s hammer throw, setting a new personal record (53.81 meters) by more than 13 feet. Holt, who ranks fifth in the state in the event, has won four hammer throws this season.

Dewar said that Holt redshirted last season but was out practicing every day.

“I said, ‘This is going to pay off next year,’” Dewar told Holt last season. “Now he understands. He went out fast. He did really well at the beginning of the season. Then he kind of leveled off, but he’s been working on his technique, working with his throws coach, and he just bought into what he was talking about. That’s the fun part.”

Sophomore Trevor Holt wins the hammer throw at the NorCal Championships May 11 at Hughes Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

Teammate Jorgue Hernandez finished ninth overall at 42.23 meters.

Despite a personal record 12.09 seconds, Sianna Willis took second in the 100 to American River’s Meaghan Rogers (11.90). Willis redeemed herself later in the evening by winning the 200 at 25.38.

“I feel like I did my best,” said Willis, who qualifies for the state meet in both events. “I went in with a confident mindset. I’m happy that I got a P.R. I made it this far. That in itself is an accomplishment. I’m just going to keep pushing and make it through.”
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Avendano said that Willis’ ability to get out of the blocks cleanly is the key to her running a successful race.

“She has this ability to relax when she’s sprinting,” said Avendano. “Everyone looks like they’re straining, and she looks very controlled.”

Despite losing control of the baton and not finishing in the 4×100 relay, the women’s 400 quartet of Daryia Greene, Kiara Flenoid, Lauren Smith and Chidinma Nwokocha rebounded to claim gold in the final event of the night, running a season-best 3 minutes 58.21 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Greene took the open 400 for the second consecutive meet. With Avendano screaming, “HIT THE TURN HARD! HIT THE TURN HARD!” over the final curve, Greene held on for a time of 57.86 to claim the top spot on the podium.

Daryia Greene hugs Coach Marisa Avendano after winning the open 400 May 11 at the NorCal Championships at Hughes Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

“First curve, I was trying to get out really hard,” said Greene. “Second curve, I didn’t feel much wind. I was trying to catch as many people as I could before I hit that curve. I didn’t feel the wind until about 20 meters into the last one, and then it hit so hard. I was just trying to breathe through it. I underestimated it a lot.”

Teammates Kiara Flenoid (1:00.45) and Lauren Smith (1:02.01) finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Avendano was admittedly emotional for Greene, who was ranked first in Northern California coming into the meet.

“I want to cry because I know the ups and downs that she’s had,” said Avendano. “She’s worked through stress fractures. I know it’s not easy for her to be ranked first and be out there and execute. It could have some added pressure being at home. For her to go out and execute like that was amazing.”

Different emotions clouded over the men’s 4×100 team of Ibn Frazier, Kamil Jones, Torrey White and Daryl Moppins. Despite a season-best 42.27 seconds, the Panthers third-place finish was bittersweet as Jones stepped on White’s foot during the exchange on the third leg and suffered a muscle tear in his leg, according to Dewar. The injury prevented Jones from competing in the 400 hurdles, where he was ranked eighth in NorCal entering Friday.

Torrey White breaks out of the starting blocks for a fifth-place finish in the open 400 May 11 at the NorCal Championships at Hughes Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

“I didn’t want Kamil to run (in the hurdles) because I want him to be able to walk when he’s my age,” said Dewar. Despite being qualified for state, Dewar said City’s relay team will not use an alternate for Jones and instead, concede their spot.

“We’re not going to try to put someone else in there,” he said. “If there’s another team that deserves to go, we’re not going to try to take their spot. That’s not right.”

White, who was the third leg of the relay team, finished fifth in the men’s open 400 at 49.01, shaving more than three seconds off his original time this season.

“Coming off of a strained hamstring (earlier in the season), I can’t really be mad at myself,” said White. “Over these last two weeks, I cut it down to a 49-flat, so I’m really not tripping at all.”

After taking an elbow to the face in a bunched-up crowd of runners, sophomore Jasmine Loyola persevered to still finish second (12:31.51) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Perla Gonzalez finished in seventh place at 13:08.43, which was 10 seconds faster than her previous personal record.

“What inspires you? What is your goal outside of just winning?” Avendano asks her athletes before each competition. “The ability to overcome—there’s always going to be challenges. Every time you get to the next level, there’s always the next mountain to climb.”

The next mountain is at Bakersfield College May 18–19 for the California State Championships.


For more info on SCC men’s and women’s track and field, visit and

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