Coyotes set their eyes on state championships

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Good things are coming out of Cuyamaca College’s track and field team.

Making an appearance at San Diego Mesa College’s gorgeous facility for the Southern California Regional Semi-Final on Saturday, May 5, the Coyotes had outstanding performances in the 400 meters, 400 meter hurdles, and men’s and women’s 10k, as well as pole vaulting and throwing events.

Head coach Tim Seaman said team is primed for a good showing this weekend at the regional finals, and hopefully, will advance to State.

Good things are coming out of Cuyamaca College’s track and field team.

Making an appearance at San Diego Mesa College’s gorgeous facility for the Southern California Regional Semi-Final on Saturday, May 5, the Coyotes had outstanding performances in the 400 meters, 400 meter hurdles, and men’s and women’s 10k, as well as pole vaulting and throwing events.

Head coach Tim Seaman said team is primed for a good showing this weekend at the regional finals, and hopefully, will advance to State.

“We have some nice, strong athletes who are ready for the regional finals,” he said. “I think we have some chances for successes at the big one when it counts.”

One of those standouts is sophomore Lexie Thiros, the current state leader in the women’s 10K. Thiros has set the bar for the event all season, and Saturday was no different.

“It’s a good confidence boost going into [the semi final],” Thiros said before her run on Saturday. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I wasn’t able to compete last year, but I knew that the 10k would be my event because I like distance and it’s been great to be leading the whole way.”

Thiros was unable to run last season due to a stress fracture in her shin, but she said cross training throughout the summer and a solid cross country season put her in good stead for this year.

“It took a lot of work and a lot of patience, but it paid off,” she said.

The team as a whole has done well this season and Thiros said the close-knit dynamic of the small squad has functioned as a stronghold.

“Everyone’s worked really hard and everyone’s really supportive,” she said. “It’s small but it’s nice.”

But Cuyamaca has more in the works than just seasonal success.

Seaman, a two-time Olympian in track and field and a established race walking coach, has made a push for race walking in the conference.

The regional semi finals had an exhibition race walk, with Cuyamaca’s own Francisco Aguilar taking the top spot.

Aguilar is a distance runner and had only practiced race walking a few times prior to winning the meet on Saturday, but he said his stamina and athleticism proved helpful.

“The hard part is learning the technique,” he said. “Once you learn the technique, coach says the speed is just going to come. I still have a long way to go with that but I think I’ll manage to learn how to race walk.”

Seaman has coached Olympians and defending national champions in the track and field event, and he said there is a great opportunity to be had in race walking for community college students.

“There are hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money out there for race walkers but not enough walkers,” said Seaman. “We’ve got to find them. There are a hundred schools out there that want race walkers and America doesn’t have any.”

For Seaman, race walking is an unorthodox way to help student athletes get into four-year colleges with funding and support. That alone would make introducing the sport worth it, he said.

“Nothing is more important than helping our students obtain a four year degree,” said Seaman.

Cuyamaca’s track and field season this year has that same potential to earn students spots at universities. Seaman said if the team performs up to their level at the state championship, they will be looking at scholarships.

“I think we’ve got a good shot,” he said. “The people who made regional finals have a very good shot of making all-american. I want to propel them out so that they get a chance to experience high level athletic competition and hopefully open up more scholarship opportunities, because we want them to finish school.”

Aguilar, who won the 3K race walk on Saturday in 17:30, also spent last year recovering from injury. He said he was surprised but relieved to see how much competition there was at the exhibition race walk on Saturday.

“People don’t understand the opportunities that you can have through race-walking,” he said, following his win at Mesa. “I think today was a good day.”

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