Hickman, BC continue to place high in big meets


Sam L. Jaime, Sports Editor

Freshman Celia Hickman had been training for the Heptathlon all season, competing in as many events during meets as possible and training for hours on end. Hickman finally got her chance to compete in the Chula Vista Southern Cal Heptathlon, which spanned two days between April 4-5. While Hickman placed 12th overall, she was actually placed ninth heading into her final event, the 800-meter run, which she considers her weakest event. In total, Hickman placed 12th in the 100-meter hurdles, 15th in the high jump, 15th in the shotput, eighth in the 200-meter, 15th in the long jump, third in the javelin, and 16th in the 800-meter run. While the double-digit placing on some events may not sound impressive, consider in each event there are 18 competitors in each event, representing the top multi-event athletes from each college. While Cerritos sent eight athletes to the heptathlon, Hickman was the sole representative for Bakersfield College.

The freshman was modest about her finish, despite the heptathlon being her first. “I felt like I did okay for my first heptathlon. I could have done better in some events, but overall, it was a success. It was a new and different experience, and my coach said I did pretty good for it being my first time,” she said.

In her best event, the javelin, Hickman set a personal record, reaching 115 feet. While the third place ranking was impressive enough, the personal best was also a big boost for her, bringing her “one step closer to state” which is among her personal goals within the sport. Among her toughest events, the long jump seemed to pose an issue for Hickman. While she has had some success at the event throughout the season, placing as high as seventh, Hickman struggled in the heptathlon, saying, “I’ve hit a ‘mental wall’ as I like to call it. It’s been really rough just to get a mark, let alone jumping a good distance.” Despite the toll of a multi-day meet mounting on Hickman, she is able to reflect with a very positive perspective. “I do feel really accomplished knowing that I was able to get through the meet. Coming around the second day, I was a little sore and tired, but I was able to push through, thankfully. It was an overall exciting experience. I was able to set a personal record in three out of the seven events,” she said.

In the wake of her accomplishments and her constant quest to perfect her craft, Hickman has a grand design in mind. “From here I train more in the summer and work on my weaker events to try and make them my stronger ones,” she said. Hickman believes it’s a progression, and that her journey will have its bumps and proverbial bruises. In that belief, she said, “The most enjoyable thing was seeing myself improve. It’s exciting to see the times and distances you never thought you would achieve. Yes, I had goals and stuff, but when you finally accomplish them it feels unbelievable. Then to see everyone else improve in their events is really something else. It’s all so motivating.”

The rest of the Bakersfield College track and field team has done exceptional as well, including sophomore high-jumper Jacob Bookout. He posted a record breaking 2.10-meter leap in the Vaquero Classic Invitational on April 8. For perspective, 2.10 meters equates to 6’11’’.That impressive height not only made Bookout the number one-ranked high jumper in the state of California, but fell just an inch shy of the Bakersfield College record of 7’0. Also in the Vaquero Classic Invitational, Freshman Eddie Ochoa took fourth in the men’s 100-meter dash, while sophomore Cesar Patino took third in the men’s 800-meter run and first place in the men’s 5000-meter run.

On March 31, the BC men’s track and field team placed fourth in the Western State Conference Inland Meet with 81 total points, while the BC women’s team recorded 129 points, taking second place in the meet. Throughout all of their meets this season, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams have put up impressive numbers and look ahead to the Bakersfield College Western State Conference Prelims on April 21 at 10 a.m. in Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium.