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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Record-setting freshman track star dominates throwing events

Michaela Wahlstroem
Freshman Alana Ochoa in front of the throwing cage with a discus on Monday, March 20, at La Playa Stadium. Ochoa won Javelin, shot put, discus and hammer at her very first College track meet.

Freshman track athlete Alana Ochoa has been claiming wins all season, starting with a clean sweep of all four of her throwing events in her collegiate debut.

Ochoa practices the hammer, discus, javelin and shot put every week in the throwers ring at La Playa Stadium. She is committed to her work, which is shown through the “throwing is life” shirt she wears to practice.

“She definitely keeps a balance between being really playful and comical and kind of a goofball sometimes,” said teammate Tlaloc Vallejo-Howard. “Other times she’s definitely an inspiration to the team and one of the best throwers I’ve seen in a while.”

Ochoa placed first in each of her events in the Central Coast Invitational at Cuesta College Friday, Feb. 3. She made her first mark at City College by throwing the sixth all-time greatest Vaqueros’ hammer throw (35.49 meters) and seventh greatest discus throw (38.55 meters). However, Ochoa was not satisfied with her victory and realized she still had work to do.

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“It was kind of an inflated sense of accomplishment, it was only one other team,” Ochoa said. “There wasn’t a lot of competition as far as different schools so I guess it was good to ease into it, but it definitely didn’t even slightly prepare me for what I was facing for the rest of the season.”

Ochoa placed first in discus Friday, March 17 at the Antelope Valley Invitational in Lancaster, where she claimed the No. 3 all time discus mark of 41.86 meters and improved her hammer throw season-best to 41.86 meters.

The local freshman continues to perform proficiently and managed to win hammer and discus in the WSC Coastal Meet at Cuesta College. She took second in javelin and shot put, and scored 36 of the Vaqueros’ 49 points.

“You can just see that as soon as one thing comes, she’s just throwing way further because she’s so strong,” assistant coach Scott Santella said. “She’s so powerful that once everything starts clicking, she’s just going to keep throwing further and further.”

Ochoa started playing softball in junior high and continued into high school until she suffered a minor injury.

According to her, the injury would not impact her performance in track and field so her brother talked her into joining the Dos Pueblos High School track and field team her junior year of high school.

“[My] first year I didn’t have the benefit of having a coach so it was pretty rough, but I transferred to San Marcos High School my senior year and [coach] Smiley helped get my mechanics,” she said.

As a senior at San Marcos, Ochoa placed seventh overall in her division at CIF finals.

Ochoa is majoring in environmental science and is inspired by her high school teacher to become an environmental science teacher.

“My AP environmental science teacher my junior year was really helpful,” Ochoa said. “She made the topic interesting and kind of alleviated some of the stress of taking an AP class while still providing us with all of the information we needed.”

Ochoa hopes to transfer to a four-year University after City College.

“I think the dream would be Oregon, just because of their track and athletic success and the weather,” Ochoa said.

However, she said she’ll go anywhere that’s willing to pay for her education.

“I want them to succeed academically and I think Alana is going to do just that,” coach Santella said.

This is only Ochoa’s third year throwing, and first year at City College, yet she is already nearing record holding marks. Her devotion to the sport and outgoing attitude makes her a leader and role model to her teammates.

“She’s probably one of my best friends,” said teammate Ellie Martin. “She’s so helpful, she knows exactly what she’s talking about and she’s just a great teammate. Every day with her is just fun, there’s never a dull moment.”

Ochoa will compete at City College’s own Easter Open on Friday, April 14.

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