How good was freshman Samantha Bogatz on Saturday afternoon for the Glendale women’s track and field team at the SoCal Finals? So good that she finished first and broke her own school record in one event, won another race and helped her relay team qualify for the state finals.
It was all part of a successful day for both Glendale College’s track and field teams at Mt. San Antonio College, where the best athletes from Southern California community colleges competed to qualify for the state finals this Friday and Saturday in San Mateo.
Bogatz, who helped the Lady Vaqueros win this year’s Western State Conference title, finished first in the 100 meters with a time of 11.17 seconds, which set a new Glendale record, also previously held by Bogatz. She then finished first in the 200 meters, coming within one one hundreth of a second of tying her own record by winning in 24.33.
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SLIDESHOW MEDIA CREDIT: Richard Kontas
She did all of this even though she said she got off to a poor start in each race. “My block starts were bad so I knew I had to
get out and stay with the pack,” she said.
Bogatz was also the anchor of the women’s 4×100 relay team. That team, consisting of Ashley Baucham, Janette Morfin and Melanie Artoun-Livaskan, came in third to qualify for state with a time of 47.75.
Bogatz was excited to qualify in her events. “I remember in the beginning of the season talking about State, I was like, ‘Oh that’s just a dream.'”
She seemed confident though, saying she knows what to expect in San Mateo. “I’ve raced a lot of these girls, so it’s kind of like the same thing over and over unless somebody slips and messes up.”
The other Glendale women to qualify were Zitlalic Ley, with a second place finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase in 11:18.40, and Angelina Gonzalez finished sixth in the same event with a time of 11:39.20.
All-world runner Katie Dunn qualified with a fourth place finish in the 1500 meters, coming in at 4:45.95. Dunn was scheduled to also run the 5000 meters, but citing health reasons, head coach Eddie Lopez said Dunn was kept out “to save her” body.
If there was one disappointing performance, it was from Ashley Baucham, who failed to qualify in the women’s high jump event. The talented sophomore is the team’s high jump specialist, but had trouble clearing 4 feet 11 inches and could not clear 5-1. She was visibly upset afterwards, slamming the padding and talking to herself.
“It was the worst possible thing that could happen,” she said. “My second attempt, my knee gave out, and then I think I was just psyched out after that.”
Baucham will still participate in the state finals on the relay team, and said she is excited at least for that opportunity.
“If anything, missing out on high jump is probably going to motivate me more for relay,” she said.
For the men, sophomore Nathan Sellers qualified in the 5000 meters with a second place finish of 15:02.44. Sellers said he felt knee pain in the days leading up the event, saying he had “mobility issues.”
He worked with trainers and still felt sore before his race, but managed to push through. “I was in a lot of pain and I just wanted to make it through that day just to be able to run the next week.”
Sellers was hurting after the day was over, saying, “It was almost arthritic [the pain]…I had to take baby steps all the way to the van.”
On May 2 at the SoCal prelims, Sellers also qualified with a third place finish in 31:31.47 in the 10,000 meters, and will compete in both events at the state finals.
How will Sellers be able to last in those events if his body still doesn’t want to cooperate? “Put my body through as much pain and torture as possible,” he said.
Francisco Quijada and Jonathan Alpizar both qualified in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase. Quijada placed third with a time of 9:47.90, and Alpizar came in fifth in 9:49.20.
Both Quijada and Alpizar sported the same mohawk look for Saturday’s events. Sellers talked about how they both stay after practice and put in work for the steeplechase race. “It’s kind of like a brotherhood thing for them.”
Lopez was pleased overall with his team’s performance, especially Bogatz. “Now, everyone’s after her,” citing Cal-State Northridge and USC as schools interested in the young Vaquero. “She’s a [Division I school] athlete.”
Lopez said he is excited for state competition, but emphasized a need to stay level-headed. “You want to stay in the middle,” he said of his emotions.
With his team looking every bit of SoCal cool, Lopez couldn’t deny being optimistic about the week ahead, and also the year ahead. “Our program is stronger, better.”