The Ventura College track and field teams put an exclamation point on the 2019 season taking five Pirates to the CCCAA State Track and Field Championships in San Mateo Friday and Saturday with three coming home after earning All-American status. Adan Cruz began the awards in the 10k run on Friday, followed by Cynthia Tuzak in the discus and Brieanna Tafoya in the 800 meters on Saturday.
On Friday, under overcast but calm skies Cruz, a sophomore who finished seventh in this meet a year ago, took the lead at the halfway mark of the 10k and held the lead with only three laps to go but was unable to hold the advantage and excitedly finished third with a new lifetime best of 31:43.50, the fourth-fastest mark in school annals.
The rain gods saved up for Saturday and torrential rain plagued the day from start to finish. Tafoya placed sixth in the 800 meters in her third-fasted time of the season at 2:18.81, solidifying her place as the No. 2 800 runner in VC history.
Tuzak fought through wind, rain and a slippery discus ring to claim the third and final All-American spot for the Pirates in the women's discus throw. Even though her performance of 120'5" was well short of her seasonal best, the conditions hurt the entire field by an average of 11 feet from their year's furthest throws.
Kimora Pooler, the WSC shot put champion, finished ninth in the women's shot put, also falling victim to the slippery throwing surface. Olivia Burton finished 10th in the 5k capping off a season Coach Melody Axtell felt was "satisfying."
"I was proudest of how everyone stepped to the challenge in the face of conditions we had not experienced all year," commented head coach Tony Veney. "The rain wasn't just falling on us, and adapting to your circumstances is the hallmark of any high-level athlete. Now it's time to rest up and set our minds on the task ahead, the 2019-2020 track season."