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Hurdles no problem for Garnica first time out

May 08, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

When Calexico High School's Donna Garnica stepped into the starting blocks to run the 300-meter hurdles in Calexico's track and field meet against Central Union High School on Thursday, it was the first time she had competed in the event.

With butterflies in her stomach and knowing she was competing against one of the Imperial Valley's best hurdlers, teammate Lisa Tittle, Garnica eased her tension by winning the event in 55.45 seconds.

"I had been wanting to do the 300 hurdles all season, but I never did. I asked coach (Cal Armstrong) if I could do it and he just said to go for it," said the 16-year-old junior. "I was a little nervous at first, but then I started feeling a lot more confident in myself.

"After that first hurdle I saw that I was ahead of the other girls and then I knew the race was mine."

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As if her win in the 300 hurdles wasn't impressive enough, she won the long jump at 13 feet, 4 1/2 inches, the high jump with a 4-4 and the triple jump with a 28-9.

The meet against Central, a 104-21 Imperial Valley League shellacking, was the first time Garnica had competed in four events all year. With her four wins Garnica nearly outscored the Spartans by herself, accounting for 20 points.

Said Armstrong: "In that meet, each of her wins seemed to carry more weight. I was actually surprised to see her do as well as she did in the hurdles because it was her first time running it this year."

One reason Armstrong points to as being a factor in Garnica's success is her all-around athleticism. He said she had tried different events during the year before finding success in the jumping competitions.

"She has a really good attitude and enjoys what she does. She's just a good athlete and that's what has helped her do as well as she has," said Armstrong. "She's a good competitor and likes the challenge of competing. She's only a junior and I think next year she'll be one of the top athletes in the Valley."

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