City College’s La Playa Stadium hosts the 73rd annual Easter Relays

Dan Nelson

The 73rd annual Easter Relays were held at 9 a.m. March 25 at La Playa Stadium in ceaseless winds.

The stadium and the Nick Carter Track played host to 45 events throughout the day and 13 colleges attended.

Kelli Johnson and Ayla Granados brought home a couple of first place finishes for City College. Laurel Lawson also placed second in the women’s pole vault (2.70 meters) for the Vaqueros.

“I was happy for Kelli Johnson, Ayla Granados and Laurel Lawson,” head coach Scott Fickerson said. “I’m sure that was very exciting for them.”

Fickerson felt good with the way his squad performed. The Vaqueros placed in the top three seven times despite competing in windy conditions.

“It’s always good to get wins in your home meet,” Fickerson said. “The heavy winds made it very difficult for almost everyone and lots of adjustments had to be made.

“The 100-meter runners will certainly want to come back to Santa Barbara for that amazing tailwind though,” he added.

Johnson placed first (1.55 meters) in front of City College’s Liza Messner (1.5 meters) to take the top two spots in the women’s high jump.

“It feels good to be back,” Johnson said. “To come back from an injury and win just feels good.”

Granados secured the top spot in the women’s 1500 meter run (5:10.31).

“I had to make sure I didn’t go out too fast and saved all of my energy for the last 300 meters of the race,” said Granados. “If I went out too fast, I know the wind would have made me so tired and I would have died.”

Granados’ time wasn’t spectacular, but in windy conditions the correct adjustments are key to being more effective.

“My coach just told me to run smart and run for place,” said Granados. “I just had to stay with the group pretty much and run smart so that’s what I did. It worked out to my favor.”

Cerritos took first place in 13 events and placed in the top three 30 times.

“Every competition is a learning process and a chance to refine our technique and move closer to peak performance,” Fickerson said. “We just want to keep moving in the right direction.”

The Easter Relays gave the Vaqueros a chance to perform in front of their home crowd for the first and only time this season.

“I like watching the whole thing,” assistant coach Derrick Baker said. “It’s great to watch everyone showcase their skills.”

The Vaqueros’ next competition will be the Mt. San Antonio College Relays. The meet will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 9 in Walnut, CA.