Track and field season recap: Hurdles on and off the track


Connor Blum

Antoine Moret, 19, aerospace engineering major, hurdling during the 3,000 meter steeplechase event at the Wildcat Cup meet on March 18.

Abel Tariku

De Anza’s track and field team ended its season on May 20 with the men’s team tying for sixth place in the CCCAA California State Championship. 

This is an improvement from last year’s eighth place ranking but the journey was a lot harder than the team had expected.

Expectations were high as freshman Elliot Daniels, 18, a nursing major, said that he set the bar for not only himself but for the team. 

“I wanted to qualify for state, and I’m excited to say that I have achieved that,” Daniels said. 

The team started off strong as the men placed first and the women in fourth at the Monterey Peninsula Premiere on Feb. 18. At the Chabot Opener on Feb. 25 the women’s team placed second.

They continued their dominance as the men’s team placed first at both the Monterey Peninsula Premiere on Feb. 18 and the Chabot Opener on Feb. 25 whereas the women’s team placed fourth and second respectively.

However, the following week was when disaster started to strike. 

A COVID-19 outbreak stopped the Mountain Lions from attending the Beaver Relays on Friday March 3, which hurt the team’s momentum. Poor weather conditions postponed meets and strained the team even further. 

Conrad Lomeli, 19, a political science major, said he had a lot of frustration with these issues as it slowed the team down.

“Sometimes we didn’t perform as much as we did because we had to compete in back to back meets, and we’re really tired,” Lomeli said. “Our bodies were not going to get better, so a lot of thought ‘let’s just get through the season. Let’s compete.’”

However, things would go from bad to worse as head coach Nick Mattis would be put under administrative paid leave during the final weeks of the season, interim coach Sam Boulanger said.

La Voz will be further investigating this matter and a follow up story will be posted soon.  

Instead of throwing in the towel, the team proved themselves able and continued competing.

Some notable finishes in the CCCAA state championship include Daniels placing fourth in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races; Travis Martin, 19, a communications major, placed first in the hammer throw at the final state championship meet, and fourth in the discus throw.

On the women’s team, Yadi Set, 19, business major placed 12th in the shot put and said she remained determined throughout the season.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance,” Set said. “The journey to get there was very tough but I’m grateful for the experience”.

Despite the challenges faced, Daniels believes there is still hope for this team and it can get better from here.

“This is without a doubt the best season that I could have ever asked for,” Daniels said.” I’m going to give it everything I got to try to get that win at state (next year).”