CSU East Bay Track Team Off to The Races Again

Elmo Arciaga / The Pioneer

Amanda Zepeda

In his first year at CSUEB, Chris Gallagher is already proving himself to be a leader for the present and future of track.

The CSU East Bay Track team is gearing up for their second stint in the CCAA Division II Conference.

After a successful season of cross country in the fall, both the men and women’s track teams are looking forward to an equally successful spring.

The team has already begun its promising start by competing in two preseason races.

The Skyline All Comers Meet in Oakland on Jan. 29, and the Davis Stampede in Davis on Feb. 6, saw CSUEB’s most prominent runners rank in the top five.

Chris Gallagher, front leading runner for the men’s team, finished the 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:26, ranking third overall, and first among CSUEB runners at the Skyline All Comers Meet. In the 800-meter run, Gallagher finished first among East Bay runners and overall with a time of 2:09.

At the Davis Stampede run over the weekend, Gallagher continued his domination in the 5k run (3.1 miles), with a time of 17:02, ranking first among East Bay runners and third overall.

A freshman from Truckee, Gallagher’s only concern is to continue to build upon his previous performances.

“I definitely feel like there is room for improvement but as the season goes on, all of us will continue getting faster and hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be hitting some very fast times,” said Gallagher.

In his first year at CSUEB, Gallagher has already begun to show his teammates and his coach what he is capable of doing as a runner.

“He has a lot of promise,” said Coach Greg Ryan.

“He’s been leading the workouts and he has the most leg speed out of all the guys on the team,” he said.

Team captain and senior Nancy Velazquez looks to have a successful final season at East Bay.

“I think he’s going to have a good year.”

After being injured for the majority of the cross-country season, Gallagher finished the season strong and anxious to get track season underway.

“In cross country, the races are very long,” said Gallagher. “We run 8k almost every week, so when we get to track season, the races are a lot shorter and a lot faster.”

For the woman’s team, team captain Nancy Velazquez has settled in nicely as a front-runner for the Pioneers.

Velazquez also produced impressive performances in Davis and in Oakland. At the Skyline All Comers Meet, Velazquez finished first among CSUEB women with a time of 5:11 for the 1,500-meter and 2:37 for the 800-meter.

At the Davis Stampede race, she finished the 5k race (3.1 miles) with a time of 19:56.

The senior from San Jose has been running since her freshman year of high school, where she also held team captain responsibilities. She has high expectations for this year’s team.

“I know that this team is very capable of running their best this season, said Velazquez. “My predictions for the season are that everyone on the team will hit their PR’s (personal records).”

Velazquez has been the face of East Bay running in her time at the university. Her final season is bittersweet for the track star.

“I am sad that this is my last season running for the East Bay team,” said Velazquez. “I just wish them the best and for them to reach their personal running goals.”

With the face of East Bay’s track team leaving at the conclusion of the season in Nancy Velazquez, it will be time for the likes of Chris Gallagher to guide this young and promising East Bay team to future success.

Currently, the team is preparing for The Rossi Relays Race, which will take place on Feb. 26 in Claremont. Here the team will meet up with some of the best national and worldwide competition.

“This group is going to improve as the season goes on,” said Gallagher.

“We have a really strong team and we’re all really excited for the season.”