A race walker for about two weeks, Hancock College sophomore Mireya Martinez will compete in the 3K women's race walk at the Southern California Regional Preliminaries at Riverside City College Saturday.

Race walking "is hard to get used to," Martinez said as she and her teammate and fellow So Cal qualifier, Davina Jannine Valerio were about to depart Friday with their coach, Louie Quintana, for Riverside.

Valerio said she is a freshman in terms of track eligibility at Hancock. She took a more conventional route than Martinez did to land a berth in the So Cal prelims. Valerio qualified in the women's pole vault and long jump.

In fact, Valerio, who has a best of 9 feet, 3 inches, finished second in the pole vault at the Western State Conference Finals. Valerio's long jump best is 16-2.

Martinez graduated from Santa Maria High School. Valerio is a Pioneer Valley alum.

Quintana said race walking will be an exhibition event at the So Cal prelims for the second straight year.

The So Cal prelims will be it for race walkers this season. Valerio will try to crack the top nine in the pole vault and long jump and advance to the regional finals. 

As for Martinez, "I haven't done many miles at all in race walking," she acknowledged.

"I think I can go seven and a half laps around the track, though." 

Martinez said, "The biggest adjustment has been the hip movement in race walking. I'm too tight in my hips. I'll try to do more stretching before the race."

The sophomore ran for Hancock's women's cross country team last fall.

She said she competed in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 for the track team. "I chose to do the race walk because I knew I wouldn't qualify for the (So Cal meet) in running."

Quintana said, "They're trying to get the numbers up for race walking. It's an unusual event, but it's a good event, especially for girls. I have three this year, but (Martinez) is the only one who wanted to do the race walk."

Valerio played basketball for Hancock during the winter season. Though, like Martinez, she has been with the Bulldogs' track team all season she's not all that much more seasoned in her qualifying events than Martinez is in hers.

"I've only competed in four meets," she said.

"We got my (current) pole late, and I help coach the Pioneer Valley track team so it's been hard to get with the team here," said Valerio.

Quintana said, "We've tried to be more flexible. We've tried to go with some morning workouts, have her here longer."

Particularly considering her small number of meet appearances, "I've been happy with the results," Valerio said.

"My goal is to clear 9-6 in the pole vault and go 17 feet in the long jump," at the So Cal prelims.

Now that Martinez and Valerio have reached this point, Quintana said, the dye, so to speak, has been cast.

"There's nothing  else I can do now, as far as coaching them," said Quintana.

"It's all up to them."

The Southern Cal Finals are set for May 10 and 11 at RCC.


CCCAA State Championships

CUPERTINO - Hancock College's Izzie Fraire and Kailey Roux earned All-American status for the second straight day at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships at De Anza College.

Friday, Fraire broke the school record in the women's 100 breaststroke and finished fourth in 1 minute, 34.89 seconds. Meghan Kluck of Orange Coast College won the race in 1:03.05.

Roux finished sixth in the 1-meter diving with 153.35 points. A day after winning the 

state 1-meter diving championship, Amy Crayne of American River won the 3-meter event with 266.30 points.

Thursday, Fraire broke her own school record and finished second in the 200 individual medley. Roux finished eighth in the 3-meter diving that day.

Fraire is the highest placing Hancock swimmer at the state meet in school history, and Roux is the highest placing diver.

Fraire will race in the 200 breaststroke Saturday, the final day of the meet. She is seeded second with a time of 2:23.55. Kluck, at 2:23.18, is the top seed.

Fraire and Roux have combined for 56 points for Hancock at the state meet, putting the Bulldogs 17th in a 40-team field.

Orange Coast leads second-place San Diego Mesa 398-236.

CIF Central Section Preliminaries

CLOVIS - Righetti's Simon Goldin advanced to the boy's 50 freestyle final, and teammate Trey Watkins moved on in the 100 breaststroke at the sectional prelims at Clovis West High School.

Righetti's 200 medley relay squad and 200 freestyle relay team also advanced. No times were available.

Finals will take place Saturday at Clovis West.

Boys tennis

Ashbrook advances

REEDLEY - Arroyo Grande's Sam Ashbrook won handily twice at the CIF Central Section Individual Singles Tournament at Reedley High School and moved into the semifinals.

Ashbrook dropped a total of three games. He will face No. 2 Ethan Quinn of San Joaquin Memorial at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Ashbrook is the only Arroyo Grande player still alive in the individuals. Arroyo Grande's sixth seeded Dylan Black and Isaiah Sczbecki won their first-round doubles match, then lost to No. 3 Kavi Freyaldenhoven and J.J. Niven of San Luis Obispo in three sets in the quarterfinals.

The eight-seeded Arroyo Grande tandem of Ryan Acangel and Nick Fuller lost in the first round.

Second-seeded Arroyo Grande will play at top seed Clovis North Tuesday for the Division 1 team championship.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.