The following article is written by Brock Drazen, Athletic Director at Merritt College and Head Coach of the Merritt College Track & Field team, and is use by permission from an announcement sent to all Peralta employees on March 29, 2022.
Even while on spring break, our students continue training and competing with a meet last Friday at Santa Rosa Junior College and upcoming meets at Stanford, Sac State, and Mt San Antonio College the next three weekends before our Big 8 Conference championships.
The team's effort at Santa Rosa left me somewhat shocked. In my 17 years as head coach at Merritt, I simply can't recall a competition like it. We had 20 lifetime best performances! It was like watching a great opera, ballet, or symphony--the plot unfolding race after race after race. The amazing part is our students recognized what was happening and they absolutely relished the moments encouraging each other with supportive cheers, motivational words, and physical displays of love and affection.
The camaraderie on this team is so enjoyable. The track and field competition at SRJC was about 8 hours long and there was plenty to do, but there were moments when I was able to just enjoy watching 'the kids' and reflecting on what was happening. I don't want to believe it is a one-time thing, but I know from experience, this was a unique occurrence not unlike when, in 2014, Kemarley Brown ran 9.93 in the 100m (still a national community college record) to win a state championship. This past weekend, however, was spread amongst everyone--no national records but just a reminder of how wonderful it is for our students to have social and physical interaction and find emotional support while building meaningful lifelong relationships. All this while learning how to compete as a team and as individuals against others who want what they want.
I hope the videos below can give you a glimpse into our little track and field world because so many of you are a part of our student's success. I want you to know that your contributions in the Peralta District and at Merritt have made all the difference in the life experiences of our students. I see it daily in our current students and I've been around long enough to see it with our alumni who speak fondly of the experiences they had at Merritt College. These amazing, resilient, powerful young people need us to do our part so that they can find their place in this world. You are all the difference."
To view Merritt College athletes in action, visit the MerrittTrackField YouTube channel here.