Eight members of the San Gorgonio track and field team will get a chance to compete in one of the more prestigious meets in the country next week, as they’ll fly to Philadelphia a week from Wednesday to compete in the Penn Relays, which will take place next Thursday-Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania.
Discus throwers Monique Armon and Jasmine Johnson-McKeown will make the trip, as will runners Anthony Carradine, De Marrio Brooks, Tracy Babers, Cameron Upshire, Greg Valdivia and Jimi Alde-Chester. Carradine, Brooks, Babers and Upshire will run in the 4×100 relay while Carradine, Babers, Valdivia and Alde-Chester will run in the 4×400.
“This has been a long-term goal for us,” San Gorgonio coach Ed Clark said. “We really wanted it to happen this year but we weren’t sure it was possible. Between raising the money, getting verification on the standards, getting board approval and setting up travel plans, it’s been quite a process.”
It was a process that was approved by the school board last Tuesday, as the San G track program raised over $9,000 through concession stands at Junior All-American football camps this past summer and through revenue brought in by the Sparta Relays late last month. It was also a tough qualifying standard, as Johnson-McKeown and Armon had to finish in the top 19 in the nation just to qualify for the event – which features college and professional track athletes as well as high-schoolers.
“We had 13 athletes that we applied to get in, because you have to be approved to even qualify for this meet,” Clark said. “Getting this all together and competing in a meet of this magnitude is just a special thing for this program.”
And its something that Clark hopes will be a regular thing for the Spartans. Plans are already in place to run at either the Penn Relays or the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas next year. As for this year, the Spartans will take the redeye early Wednesday morning out of Ontario Interntational Airport to Philly, where they’ll see the sights Thursday before competing in the discus and 400 relay Friday and the mile relay Saturday.