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Holmes continues to blow past competition

March 13, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

During her freshman campaign last year, Southwest High School's Erica Holmes took the Imperial Valley League by storm in the track and field season.

Even without the element of surprise on her side, Holmes is still blowing past her competition and put together a stellar performance at the Yuma Invitational on Saturday.

Holmes won in the 100-meter dash in 13.21 seconds, placed second in the long jump at 15 feet, 2 inches and took third in the 200 meters in 27.99. She teamed with Monica Gamboa, Stephanie Conant and Jackie Gomez to finish third in the 4x100 relay in 53.08 seconds.

"Going into it I really didn't think that I'd do that good because we really couldn't practice all that much last week," said the 16-year-old sophomore. "When we first got there I wasn't into it mentally. But after awhile I started feeling a little better about myself."

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At the Yuma Invitational Holmes had to compete in each event twice, with her first try a preliminary. Some of her energy was sapped, but she pressed on and helped the Southwest girls team take third place, above all other IVL teams.

"This team is a lot better than I expected," said Holmes. "This is a very young team with a lot of very good freshman who are helping us."

Holmes has stepped up as a leader for her younger teammates, primarily by example.

As the anchor on the relay team, there is pressure on Holmes to perform at the highest level and often make or break her team's race. While most would shy away from that kind of pressure, Holmes has asked to be put in that situation and has delivered.

"Erica has pretty much taken the rest of the girls and been a leader for them. She's very focused and knows what it takes to win," said Southwest coach Mike Becker. "She's done everything we've ever asked of her and has done it at a high level.

"There's not doubt in my mind that she's probably one of the most dangerous athletes in this Valley … she's just getting the most out of what she has," said Becker. "It's unfortunate that we can only put her in four events because I wish we could put her in every event. No matter what event it would be, I know she'd find a way to get us some points. And that's what you look for in an athlete."

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