Sophomore Reyna Fonseca leaves her two children at the Child Development Center before running to her classes. In the afternoon, she runs some more.
All the sweat and muscle aches, along with sacrificing time with her children, has paid off for Fonseca.
The women’s track and field team has seemingly ambushed the field, coming out of nowhere while competing at half the size of rival squads — the Dons have eight runners, compared with an average of 15 per team.
Fonseca, sophomore Susana Marquez and freshman Alicia Sotelo have been placing, and even winning, their events.
SAC competed at the Ben Brown Invitational Saturday at Cal State Fullerton (See results at www.eldonnews.org).
“You just can’t join, you’ve got to be asked to compete in this race,” Coach Miriam Mitzel says.
After fielding a small team, Santa Ana College is rebuilding a program that once fielded a full roster in men’s and women’s events. As California slashed education funding however, the team almost folded. The men were combined with Santiago Canyon College’s team, while SAC opted to keep the women.
The team’s development has been swift, going from underdogs to feared opponents. Fonseca already finished first in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter races, and owns the college’s third best time in the 800-meter, with a time of 2 minutes and 19.31 seconds. The weekend soccer coach also runs the 4×400 meter relay.
Mitzel works the women hard five times a week, combining grueling endurance and distance training. But she also ends every session with a joke, to send the girls off smiling. “It’s a way of reminding the girls that what we do is fun, and not punishment,” Mitzel said.
The women may have similar training regimens, but they have different ways of psyching themselves up during an actual race.
“I need adrenaline and nervousness before the race,” Marquez said.