By Don Perez / The Union
On a day where the wind was making its presence felt, sophomore Israel Cardona went by the competition in a sudden gust in the men’s 1,500-meter race.
As the runners made the turn at the southeast corner of Murdock Stadium during the South Coast Conference Championships on Friday, April 28, Cardona accelerated and was just fast enough to win the event, clocking in a time of 4:05.21.
Mt. San Antonio College’s Michael Dondalski was at his heels, .63 seconds behind Cardona.
“I caught them off guard. I had a lot going for me into the fourth lap,” Cardona said, still catching his breath minutes later, and adding the slow start and home field went in his favor.
Cardona’s win helped the men’s track and field team secure third place on Friday. The women’s team from EC also finished in third place.
El Camino track and field coach Dean Lofgren saw the defining moment in Cardona’s race as well.
Lofgren said Cardona dropped a little bit off the pace with 200 meters to go.
“There’s that moment where you have to make a decision,” Lofgren said. “‘Are you going to make a move to win or are you going to just settle where you are?’ He made the move and that was a huge, huge final stretch for him. Really good to see him do well. It went well, even with the wind.”
Justin Alexander, who won the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.67, didn’t believe the wind made it easy.
“It felt like a brick wall [smashing] into your face,” Alexander said. “It’s about to tip me over now because I’m tired.”
Top finishes for the women’s side included EC sophomore Shukura Tyler and freshman Ivery Cody, placing first and third in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with times of 14.12 and 14.80, respectively and sophomore Yazmine Al-Uqdah taking the high jump with a mark of 1.65 meters.
On the men’s side, sophomore Solomon Kanehailua finished first with a time of 10:04.20 in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Mt. SAC and Cerritos College took the top score in men and women’s track and field events, respectively.
While EC was the physical host of the meet, Mt. SAC was the designated host. The Mounties’ track and field facilities are currently unavailable due to construction.
Video published on The Union website on May 2, 2017; article was posted online on April 30.
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Photo and video by Don Perez.