Kevin Cooper has speed that may surprise some of his competitors.
The Modesto Junior College sophomore is seeded sixth in the 800 meters in today's Northern California Community College Track & Field Championships at MJC.
Cooper, who won his heat at the preliminaries last week in 1 minute, 55.61 seconds, thinks there are a number of factors working in his favor. The 800 is his first event today -- he said that's not the case with many of his competitors -- so he'll be fresher and able to maintain a quicker pace. He'll also run in the 4x400 relay -- MJC posted the state's best time at the Big 8 Conference meet two weeks ago.
Cooper's style is a little different, one that allows him to make a strong final push when others may be tiring. And he has home-track advantage.
"A lot of the guys I'm racing against are running faster times than me," Cooper said. "That's all the better for me, because it means I'll run a faster time. I'm definitely looking forward to the competition."
After a two-year hiatus, the Northern California Championships are being held in conjunction with the California Invitational Relays. Cooper said all the Pirates expect it to be a good day, and the buzz of the weekend's events is one reason why.
Today will be the first time many Northern California college teams get to run on MJC's new track, which was replaced late last summer.
The top four placers in each running event, as well as the fastest fifth-place time recorded between the North and South finals competitors, advance to the state meet May 16-17 in Norwalk. The top six marks in the field events qualify.
Field events begin at 11 a.m. with the men's hammer and women's javelin. Running events begin at 3:30 p.m. with the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. General admission tickets are $8 and student tickets are $5.
For more, visit Kelly Jones' blog at thehive.modbee.com/pointafter.