Track stars make history at Big 8 Championships

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Jaime Rodriguez , Staff Writer

Records are meant to be broken, and the Santa Rosa Junior College track team made history when it competed at the Big 8 Conference Championships at Chabot College May 6.

Stephanie Fernandez, Julia Grimm and Kasey Mancini led by example as their 2016 season came to an end.

The women’s 4×100 relay team broke a 41-year-old record set in 1975. Devyn Ruiz, Erin McCullough, Grimm and Fernandez finished with a time of 49.13 seconds. They are now qualified for the finals at the Nor Cal championships.

Currently, Fernandez is ranked second in the state for the 400-meter hurdles and is within a second from breaking the school record. The track star put in an epic performance, winning the Big 8 Championship with a time of 64.09 seconds.

“This has to be one of the greatest seasons of my career,” Fernandez said. “I set a few goals for the season and I am meeting them.”

Grimm had a strong showing at the Big 8 Championships. She finished third overall in the heptathlon, finishing in the top-five in all seven of her events, earning 4,495 points.

In the first event, the 100-meter hurdles, Grimm finished fifth with a time of 16.3 seconds. Grimm followed that with the high jump, tying for second at 1.61 meters. Grimm’s throw of 10 meters in the shot put landed her third place. In the 200-meter dash Grimm finished fifth with a time of 26.81 seconds. The fifth event of the day was the long jump, in which Grimm finished third with a jump of 5.06 meters.

The javelin throw was Grimm’s best performance as she finished second with a throw of 39.55 meters. Finally, in the 800-meter run, Grimm finished fourth with a time of 2:39.56.

On the men’s side, Kasey Mancini in the Decathlon put in an admirable performance, finishing first overall with a whopping 6,127 total points accumulated from all of his events.

His blazing speed in the 100-meter dash, finishing third with a time of 11.62 seconds. In the long jump, Mancini finished third with a jump of 6.08 meters. A throw of 11.01 meters in the shotput landed him third for that event.

Mancini’s best performance came in the high jump, jumping a first-place best of 1.89 meters. He finished second in the 400-meter dash with an astonishing time of 52.16 seconds. In the 110 hurdles, Mancini finished with a time of 17.13 seconds, third-best in that event.

Mancini showcased his strength in the discus throw, finishing second with a throw of 32.45 meters. In the pole vault, Mancini tied for second place with a jump of 3.95 meters, tying fellow Bear Cub Adam Gockel.

A throw of 44.62 meters in the javelin netted Mancini a fourth-place finish. Finally, in the tenth and final event, the 1500-meter run, Mancini finished third with a time of 4:54.83.

“No records yet. But I’m feeling pretty good about this season,” Mancini said of his performance. He’s not satisfied yet, as he will leave May 19 for the state meet in San Diego.

Some other notable performances at the Big 8 Championships include the men’s 4×100 relay team, led by twin brothers Jalen and Kadeem Hemphill, Justin Zinnerman and Brandon Beck.

They finished fourth with a time of 42.6 seconds, enough to qualify for the state meet.

Although the relay team has found success, Jalen isn’t satisfied due to a myriad of injuries.

“This is our first year running together and injuries have definitely gotten in the way of us posting times we would like to,” Jalen said.

The state championships take place May 19 in San Diego.