Track season begins for Pioneers



Taylor Kruger,

CSUEB track and field is bringing in new faces to the 2015 season and with those new faces, a confident mindset is coming with them.
After a 2014 season plagued with injuries, the Cal State East Bay track and field team is hopeful that the 2015 season will be different: new members joined both the men’s and women’s teams, and a new assistant coach is at the helm.

“[The] 2015 team for men is totally different,” said Ralph Jones, CSUEB Head Coach of track and field. “We only returned three men from the 2014 team, so the entire team is literally new. On the women’s side we added some depth in the sprints with Ravyn Miller and Sydney Johnson, and our distance ladies are just more mature, stronger, and fit.”

“Notable long-distance runners such as Sydney Johnson, Imani Heath and Oddessy Tapia are returning to the East Bay Women’s team, and the addition of new runners gives the CSUEB team depth,” Jones said.

With only three returning members on the men’s team, Coach Jones brought in transfer students Leo Theuss, a sprinter who previously attended Merritt College in Oakland, Khalil Corbin and Marquise Cherry, from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Corbin and Cherry both spent the previous two years as a sprinter and jumper at Mt. SAC.

Jones feels that these three athletes will bring leadership that was missing in the past.

Cherry and Corbin come from one of the top junior colleges in the state, and they are accustomed to winning and competing at a high level.

Both were members of the Junior College State championship 4×100 relay team at Mt. SAC. They posted a state-leading time of 40.00, and they were coached under legendary Mt. SAC track coach Ron Kamaka, who was an All-American athlete at Arizona State and has ties to Hayward himself.

Jones expects his athletes to be consistent and learn how to better execute their races throughout the spring season.

His goal is to build camaraderie throughout the whole team and build true competitors.
“My goal is for this year is to get both the men and women teams to gel together and become a true team by the CCAA conference championships, finishing higher in the team standings than we have in the past,” Jones said.

On the women’s side, Sydney Johnson, Ravyn Miller, Camille Hansen, Imani Heath, Oddessy Tapia, Sarah Perrin and Samira Foy are all major contributors and key players for the women Pioneers track and field team.

Hansen finished 12th overall in the 1500m with a time of 4:49.23 at the Cal State L.A. Invitational. The 12th place overall finish was the first top 50 finish of the year for the Pioneers. 102 athletes competed representing divisions I, II, and junior college teams.

“My goals for this season are to get into the 4:30s in my 1500 meters, and to at least have a 60 in 4 by 400,” Hansen said.
Cherry, Corbin, Theuss, and Kyle Fetter are some of the male athletes to watch out for.
“Cherry is already one of the top jumpers in the country,” Jones said.

“He should have an opportunity to be a conference champion and school record holder by the end of the season. Khalil Corbin will be one of the top sprinters in the conference and nation, and Leo Theuss will be a top middle distance runner for us. First year runner Kyle Fetter is someone who we think we have some major improvements this year.”

Jones also expects the team to be at the national championships challenging for the top spot in horizontal jumps. At the Cal State Invitational March 7, Cherry jumped 23 feet, 11.5 inches (7.30m) in his East Bay debut, out-leaping his nearest competitor by more than five inches and hitting an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

He posted a strong showing in the triple jump, placing sixth overall with a distance of 46 feet, 6.75 inches (14.19m).
His jump is currently tied for the second longest in the NCAA Division II this season and it’s the ninth longest in Pioneer program history.
“For conference, I want to be first place in the long jump and triple jump, and least place top 5 in the 100m while nationally, I want to be in the top three for both long and triple jump,” Cherry said. “Just trying to make a statement out there and try to show them who I am and what school I represent.”

Cherry believes that the Pioneers can be major competitors in the upcoming season if everyone just keeps working hard and believing in what Coach Jones wants the team to do.

“Everything is going to work if we just stay patient, patience is key,” said Cherry.