Bronco Track Competes In SoCal

April 17, 2006

By Pete Cushman
Santa Clara Athletics

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men and women's track team made its first full squad trip to the Southland competing in the Springco Long Beach Invitational .

Freshman Anna Wheatley kicked off the meet with a victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. It was her first attempt at the event in a Division I setting. Wheatley battled at the front of the lead pack for the entire race, and was able to put a short gap on the field after each water pit. As she approached the bell lap she began to open and put some significant separation between her and second place. Her effort earned her a time of 11:43.40.

Sophomore Michael Delaurenti took a shot at his own steeplechase school record, but fell just short of his previous best, set earlier in the year. The race went out at a very conservative clip, but Delaurenti sat near the back of the bunched up pack. As he approached his second lap he made an aggressive move to second place, where he settled in for the next 1200 meters. He sat about 200-meters behind the leader, with a small group of chasers hot on his trail. He managed to fend off the bulk of the group, finishing third overall in a time of 9:41.27.

"There is no question about Mike's fitness level right now," said Head Coach Tom Service. "He's had some great performances all spring, and as soon as we can put the fitness together with his continually improving technique, he should become a fine steeplechaser."

Freshman Veronica Vazquez continued to chip away at her own personal best in the metric mile, running 4:50.61, a small improvement over her performance from a week ago. Her time was good enough for eighth place overall, and as the top Bronco in the 1500-meters. Junior Shannon Bell followed close behind in tenth place, with a season best 4:53.27.

"Seeing Veronica run personal bests while not being 100 percent is a very promising sign," said Service. "She has battled with a number of different small problems all winter and spring, but has fought through all of them and had has some great performances."

Sophomore Chris Furnari narrowly missed a personal best in the 800 meter event. His time of 1:55.81 was good enough for fifth place overall. Sophomore Christen Gumbs made his 800 meter debut in the second heat of the event, and lead most of the race before being out kicked by teammate Omar Ahmad. Ahmad crossed the line in 2:05.63, with Gumbs finishing just behind in 2:06.10.

Sophomore Michael Hannon led the way for the Bronco men in the metric mile, running personal best of 4:07.23. Gumbs attempted to chase down Hannon on the homestretch, but narrowly missed catching him. His effort was good enough for a personal best of 4:08.02.

Andrea Roozen competed in her second ever 400-meter hurdle event, improving on her debut time by over two seconds. Roozen finished the race in 1:13.14.

The Broncos return to action this Saturday at the Woody Wilson Invitational hosted by UC Davis.