Streaking Towards the Finish Line

Thundering home: Zendon Pandy of Washington Prep High School, outduels Angel Valencia at the Marine League Track and Field Finals. Photo: Dennis J. Feeman

 

Thundering home: Zendon Pandy of Washington Prep High School, outduels Angel Valencia at the Marine League Track and Field Finals. Photo: Dennis J. Feeman
Thundering home: Zendon Pandy of Washington Prep High School, outduels Angel Valencia of Rancho DOminguez Prep at the Marine League Track and Field Finals. Photo: Dennis J. Feeman

LOS ANGELES-Track And field is one sport where you usually land on an island by yourself. Outside of the relay events, track and field is pretty much an isolated sport where you either stand alone in achievement or fall into relative obscurity.

There are other individual sports, such as swimming, boxing, cycling and ice skating are just a few.

But track and field is a sport where you’re cheered when you win, but just as quickly dismissed should an athlete don’t pan out or do well in their respective event. Track and field is not what it used to be at the high school level, in terms of buzz and excitement, since football and basketball have dominated today’s culture of young people.

But it is still just as exciting to watch.

Watching the CIF-Los Angeles Marine League Finals at Washington Prep High School in South Los Angeles, one could still feel the adrenaline flowing throughout the meet as competitors didn’t bat an eye about what track used to be and how it is today.

The only that mattered was the task at hand. Beat the competition is more important than looking up at the stands to see who is watching. Some things never change. Competing, trying to show the world (the athlete’s world) that you are the best at what you do is one of those things that will never go away. Competing is what life is about.

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Je’Ni Hardy of Washington Prep (left) makes a dash in the 100 meters to claim victory in the race. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

Competing is what Washington Prep sprinter Zendon Pandy did when he smoked the rest of the field in winning both 100 and 200-meter races. And he did it in a hurry, thundering down the track in the 100 in a snippet-fast 10.65 seconds and edging Angel Valencia of Rancho Dominguez Prep in claiming the 200.

Competing was San Pedro intermediate runner Brandon Towns looking like a runaway winner in the 800 before barely hanging on at the finish line to record his victory. The same could be said about Carson High School freshman Jeannette Paul, who looks like she is just getting started in working her way to league and city domination for three plus years.

Paul made things look easy in both the league prelims and finals, picking up wins in the 200, 400 and 100 high hurdles. That’s pretty impressive stuff for a ninth-grader. In the 400 and 100 hurdles, Paul looked as if she was running on cruise control as she pulled away from the rest of the field easily.

Dominant: Freshman Jeannette Paul of Carson High School ran her way to three league titles. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
Dominant: Freshman Jeannette Paul of Carson High School ran her way to three league titles. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

As she turned down the backstretch of the 400, it was clear that Paul was already the winner, having distanced herself from the pack by a couple of meters. She had a much tougher time in the 200, getting by Carson teammate Dierra Haven. Even with her stellar day, Paul wasn’t the only athlete to shine.

Washington Prep’s Je’Ni Hardy, booming afro and all, scooted by all runners in the 100 to take home the league title in that event. It was a good day for Hardy. Besides her win in the girls 100, she also managed to come away with a victory in the long jump.

Valencia, who finished second in the boys 200, walked away from the meet a winner as well, streaking to a win in the 400.

 

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1388 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.