Track and field is back at East Los Angeles College, but the Huskies won’t have any home meets for their first season since budgetary problems forced the cancellation of the program in 1991. This time, a lack of long jump, high jump and pole vault runways--and hurdles--has forced the team to schedule all its competitions on the road.
The runways at Weingart Stadium were removed in 1993 while L.A. Promotions rented the facility, and artificial turf, installed for the 1984 Olympic field hockey competition, was replaced by grass as part of a $1-million, five-year stadium renovation.
The runways, though, were never replaced after L.A. Promotions was ousted last July for failing to pay its rent.
East L.A. has raised the $100,000 needed to rebuild the runways, but construction won’t begin until the end of the season because of administrative glitches.
“We attempted months ago to get them built, but we always ran into snags,” East L.A. Athletic Director Gil Rozadilla said. “There were schedules to meet but it was delayed too long. It’s in the works and they will be ready next year.”
The hurdles were lost after the track program was suspended in ’91.
“No one knows what happened to them,” East L.A. Coach Louis Ramirez said. “Rumor has it they were melted for aluminum.”
The school has purchased $11,000 in new hurdles and the order is expected to arrive within the next two weeks. In the interim, Ramirez has been forced to borrow hurdles from local high schools and conduct field event workouts at Montebello and Schurr high schools.
“It makes a long work day for the coaches,” Ramirez said.
Despite the inconveniences, the East L.A. men and women are among the favorites for the Southern California Athletic Conference team titles.
Ivo Rodrigues, a sophomore transfer from Los Angeles Trade/Technical College, was the runner-up in the 10,000 meters in the State junior college meet last season with a time of 29 minutes 57.58 seconds. He was also second at 5,000 meters in the Southern California finals with a time of 14:28.33. In January, Rodrigues placed eighth in the Las Vegas Marathon in 2:21:01, breaking a 20-year-old East L.A. school record by nearly 17 minutes.
Freshman Greg Pratt has run 49.65 for 400 meters and 1:55.1 for 800 this season. Sophomore Jose Arriaga was eighth at 10,000 meters in the Southern California finals while competing for Trade Tech in 1993. Kenny Moxie is a freshman decathlete, specializing in the 100 meters and pole vault.
The East L.A. women are led by sophomore Alba Lima and freshman Monique Mejia. Lima was conference champion in the 800, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 at Trade Tech last season. Mejia won the conference cross-country title last fall.
Bonnie Moreno, a freshman from Lincoln High who has triple jumped 35-10, is competing for the first time in three seasons. Blanca Jimenez and Silvia Siordia are freshman hurdlers from Garfield and Roosevelt highs. Eunice Machorro is a freshman 400- and 800-meter runner from Franklin.
Here is a look at other colleges:
L.A. City--A pair of freshmen, sprinter Oscar Fuentes from Belmont and Everado Gomez, a 800- and 1,500-meter runner, pace the Cubs. Janice Szabe, a freshman from Compton High, will run in the 100, 200 and 400 meters.
L.A. Southwest--Sprints are the Cougars’ strength with Rasheed Phillips, William Haynes and Ethan Allen Thomas Jr.
In the Cal State L.A. Invitational on March 18, Art Topete of Garfield won the 100 in 11.1 and ran a 49.6 anchor to lead the Bulldogs’ 1,600-meter relay team of Alex Tlatenchi, David Jimenez and Manuel Quezada to victory in 3:29.9.
Richard Martinez of Garfield was sixth in the invitational 1,600 in 4:34.9 and Eddie Sanchez won the rated 1,600 in 4:35.9. Martinez and Sanchez were also second and third in the 3,200 in 10:07 and 10:08.