The DLSU Green Tracksters and Lady Tracksters both finished in fourth place in this year’s UAAP Track and Field competition, which was held at the Philsports Track Oval last February 17 to 21, 2016. With their fourth-place finishes, the men and women of the DLSU Track and Field Team contributed a total of 16 points to La Salle’s General Championship (GC) tally in Season 78.
The Green Tracksters earned a total of 210 points, 184.5 points behind champions FEU Tamaraws and 3.5 points behind third-place UP. Meanwhile, the Lady Tracksters earned a total of 114 points, 351 points away from the women’s division champion, the UST Growling Tigresses. Nevertheless, the Taft-based Tracksters brought home 10 bronze medals, seven silver medals, and three gold medals.
Slow but steady start
The first two days of the competition saw both Lasallian teams clinch bronze medals despite facing stiff competition in the early stages of the tournament. Adel Valdecanas, who was just 1.11 meters behind UST’s John Obiena in the Men’s Pole Vault event, Kenneth Rafanan (Men’s Shot Put), Erwin Parcon (Men’s 800-meter race), and Maureen Schrijvers, who fell just 0.05 meters short against FEU Trackster Kaylene Mosqueda in the Women’s High Jump event, all garnered bronze medals from their events on the first day of competition.
Meanwhile, Michael Del Prado clinched the first silver medal and the only podium finish for DLSU on the second day of the competition in the Men’s 200-meter run, with a time of 22.31 seconds.
Hitting their stride
After the first two days, the medals came in bunches for both teams. Joshua Patalud got things going in the second half of the competition by winning the bronze medal in his event, the javelin throw, on the tournament’s third day. DLSU also managed to earn its first gold medal of the tournament on the same day courtesy of Del Prado’s first-place finish in the finals of the Men’s 400-meter dash with a time of 48.71 seconds. Jewel Manaig added to the DLSU medal tally with her bronze in the Discus Throw, while John Rey Moreno (3000-meter Steeplechase) and the team of Mary Diesto, Judy Ann Rendora, Melissa Escoton, and Elrica Guro(4×4 100-meter relay), clinched silver medals.
On the fourth day, only Mat Crespo, Del Prado, and Rendora were able to land podium finishes in their respective events. Crespo won a bronze medal in the Discus Throw, while Del Prado and Rendora won a silver and bronze medal, respectively, in the 400-meter Hurdle events.
The DLSU teams had their best output on the last day of the competition after winning a total of seven medals, which consisted of two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.
The golds were won by Diesto in the Women’s Long Jump event and by the men’s relay team, composed of Del Prado, Jasper Tanhueco, John Kenneth Nodos, and Parcon, who won it in the 4×4 400-meter relay.
Crespo clinched the silver in the Hammer Throw, while Alvin Vergel won the silver medal in his 110-meter Hurdles event. To add to the tally, Parcon finished third in the 1500-meter race, while Rendora and Escoton finished second and third, respectively, in the 100-meter Hurdle race.
In light of this season’s results, DLSU Tracksters coach Jeoffrey Chua said that he was satisfied with the performances of both teams. Considering the circumstances they faced entering Season 78, he says that he already knew that they were going to struggle, yet he was pleased that the team remained resilient.
“I [was] hoping for a better finish. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it, but there were individual performances that exceeded my expectations,” he said, mentioning the likes of Diesto, Escoton, and Rendora.
According to him, the Lady Tracksters’ performance exceeded his expectations, especially given that they entered the UAAP season undermanned due to various reasons.
“This is a numbers game, meaning, the more quality players you have, the higher chance you’ll have [of winning],” Chua said.
Chua is looking forward to seeing how his teams will perform in their upcoming tournaments, given the caliber of players he has right now and how they can still be molded to become better players.
“Actually, they are all young,” he explained. “Some of them are freshmen and sophomores so the maturity will be to my advantage. [With another year under their belts], in terms of their age and training, definitely it will help in the maturity, plus of course, [the influx of] new recruits.”