Women Aim for a State Title

P.W. Scobey

Seven women from the Bakersfield College track and field team have qualified for the state meet.

The Renegades won the Western State Conference team title on April 24. They scored 157 1/2 points, icing Cuesta College (104 1/2) at College of the Canyons. Freshman Grace McClellan won the high jump at 5′ 4″ while Brooklan Grimes won the 1,500-meter in 4 minutes, 43.4 seconds. Jodie Calderon came in second in the steeplechase.

“I prepare for the jump by doing archies, 3 to 5 and full-step approaches,” McClellan said in a recent practice.

Calderon said, “I hydrate and get a lot of sleep the day before a meet.”

During practice, coach Pam Kelley yelled out directions to most of the women on the team. “My voice always carries, I can’t help it,” she said.

This team has a few new ingredients this year: more freshmen, better team unity, more balance, and the will to do other events, according to the coach, who added that the team relationship is compatible and respectful.

“I tell them to always come ready to compete mentally and physically,” Kelley said.

The seven who have qualified were: Grimes, who came in second in both the 1,500 (4:46.15) and 800 (2:19.35) to lead the ‘Gades. Shelly Rice was fourth in both the hammer throw (130-9) and discus (132-0). Suzana Iller qualified fourth in the 10,000 (38:59.00) and 11th in the 1,500 (4:56.10). Kristina Smith was sixth in the 400 hurdles at 1:09.39 and Calderon was ninth in the steeplechase (12:18.00). McClellan took first in the high jump at 5-0 and Amy Clark finished fifth in the javelin at 107-3.

In Calderon’s eyes, it is possible to win state but Kelley said the ‘Gades may not win because of the depth contrast with other schools. “We just want to qualify as many people as possible,” the coach said.

SoCal Finals will be held on Saturday, then the California State Meet will be on May 14-15. Both events will be at Bakersfield College.