Quintero finishes 28th at state championship, Mejia falls off, Habebo finishes strong in race
December 2, 2009
Filed under Sports
Bakersfield College cross country runner Robert Quintero ran his best time all season in the 4-mile race at the California Community College Athletic Association state championship Nov. 21 at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Quintero’ s time was 20 minutes, 57 seconds and was first for BC and 28th overall.
“I was thinking ‘I couldn’t believe I was up here,’” said Quintero. He added, “I was with the top group. I took off in the beginning, and I was scared I was going to die off. I realized I was up there and my confidence was up and everyone was cheering for me. I broke 21 [minutes]. That was my goal, and I set my goal.”
Quintero described BC coach Dave Frickel’s reaction after the race. “He was so happy. He was shocked actually. He said, ‘Can you believe you did that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I did that.’”
Finishing second for BC men was the only other BC male, Francisco Mejia, who finished 104th.
Quintero described Mejia’s struggle in the race, “The first mile I thought he was going to go with me, and he just stayed back. When the third mile came up, he always [usually] catches me, and I was expecting him to catch me already and when I looked back – [he wasn't] there,” said Quintero.
“In the second mile, I heard coach [Frickel] say ‘Let’s go, Francisco!’ about 10 seconds away and then he [fell behind]. I was expecting him to be up there, but I don’t know what happened. He had a bad race I’m guessing.”
Frickel said about the runners, “Francisco, unfortunately [had a bad race]. He’s run well all year. Emnet [Habebo], [in] the last couple races, she’s ran better than what she had. So everybody finished off on a pretty good note.”
Daniel Tapia, from Hartnell in Salinas, finished first overall in the 4-mile race with a time of 20:04. San Bernardino Valley took the men’s team title and BC did not place as a team due to having only two runners.
BC’s Emnet Habebo finished 136th overall in the women’s race and was the only BC woman to run at state.
“She had a good race at the end,” said Frickel.
“The one that had the greatest race was obviously Quintero. That was a huge improvement. The first time he ran there, he ran over 23 minutes … he stepped it up. He was pretty stoked about that.”
Glendale’s Nina Moore was first overall in the women’s 5-kilometer with a time of 17:47 and helped Glendale take the women’s team title.
Quintero is preparing for track and field in the spring, but he said happily, “I want to rest for a week. I’m focused on the 1,500 meters and 800. I’m really focused on the 1,500. I want to break four minutes on that.”
The BC sophomore added, “Last year I didn’t run cross country. This year I did, so I have a better base.”
When asked what he sees himself as a cross-country or track and field runner, he replied, “I’d say both. I’m equal in both.”
Frickel added about Quintero’s efforts, “He’s pretty excited. I think he’s going to have a real good year. He’s starting understand that you can train at a higher level and compete at a higher level,” he said. “He was fifteen seconds between getting a medal at state championships. There was a small gap between him and an award.”