This news report was written during a Journalism Association of Community Colleges convention at Long Beach City College in October 1993. It was my first “big” competition as a student journalist and the article below was a confidence-boosting endeavor. I finished fourth in the on-the-spot sports writing news contest.

By Ed M. Odeven
LONG BEACH, Calif. ー Close finishes highlighted three track and field events this morning at Long Beach City College. As said by Mr. Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

LBCC’s Lavrentino Diaz and Jason Zimmerman continued their rivalry in a tight competitive one-mile race. Throughout the event, the two dueled for first place, both within arm’s length of the other. Toward the end, the heat got even hotter. With the sound of the gun, the last lap began. Diaz and Zimmerman continued to huff and puff as they sprinted along.

The final eighth of a mile featured a real intense finish. Diaz and Zimmerman rushed their way to the finish. Diaz emerged as the winner with Zimmerman a split second behind.

First place went to Diaz with a time of 4 minutes and 37 seconds. Zimmerman, the second-place runner, ran a time of 4:38. Moyses Hernandez took third place at 4:49. Daniel Jelks was fourth at 4:51 and Eyton Anderson at 4:54 took fifth. Also finishing the race were: Chanel Jones, Miguel Chavez and Danny Mationg, all finishing in over 5 minutes.

Diaz and Zimmerman began their rivalry in 1989 as high school freshmen. Zimmerman attended Lakewood High School and Diaz went to Wilson H.S.

“It’s been four years of rivalry back and forth,” said Zimmerman.

Currently, the twosome are freshmen at LBCC.

“Stay aggressive during the race,” said Zimmerman, mentioning his race philosphy.

“Trying to think when to make a move (is important),” he said.

“The key moment of the race was in the third lap and Zimmerman stumbled,” said Diaz.

From there, he looked in control of the race. His strategy: “Look at the guy next to you and see if they are tired. Decide when to make your move then,” he said.

In another one-mile race, a fast pace started the contest. Two-time Olympic-qualifying marathon runner Tyrus Deminter, also the distance coach at LBCC, started the race as a rabbit (pacer). His job was to set a quick pace. He held the lead until the second lap was complete. Then he stepped out.

Herb Montgomery took off where Deminter left off and ran in first place. Right behind him was Jaime Moreno. The two were separated by several feet ahead of the rest of the pack. With the final lap approaching, Moreno switched to a higher gear and moved closer to Montgomery. The final stretch was a foot race between Moreno and Montgomery. Moreno wins the race. The difference was maybe a second at most.

The times for the race were: Moreno 4:21, Montgomery 4:31, Gareth Christenson 4:32, Charles Mansfield 4:32, Saloman Mendoza 4:32, Andre Tutwiler 4:35 and Michael Wilson 4:38.

In the steeplechase, LBCC sophomores Shannon Horn and Devin O’Neill exchanged the lead position a few times during the course of the one-mile run.

After one lap, Horn was in control as the front-runner, closely pursued by O’Neill. Then it was O’Neill’s turn to be the leader. Horn regained the lead and momentum in the race when he went over the second water jump on the third of four laps.

Horn finished in first with a time of 5:06. Right behind him was O’Neill at 5:08. Third place went to Jose Villanueva at 5:10. A distant fourth place went to Jose Yorba at 5:24. Rounding out the top race was Nathan Eskins, who fell at the final hurdle, who ended up with a time of 5:54.

Next Saturday, the LBCC Track and Cross Country Program can be seen in action at Moorepark in a cross-country invitational.