2017 Track & Field Recap

 The Laney Women’s Track and Field team capped off an amazing post-season scoring 62 points to achieve a 4th place finish at the California JC State Championship. With just 5 young ladies, the eagles maximized their talents across nine events in which everyone scored and medaled at the two-day meet. Most notable was the jumping-hurdling duo of Nia Vance and Brittany Brown. Vance was the highest scoring member of the team with 22.5 points, while Brown scored 20.75 points and brought home a record 5 medals, the most in program history.
     All this was sparked the week prior when the Lady Eagle’s "fantastic five" finished Runner-up at the NorCal Championships. Just to put into perspective how great an achievement this was, the winning team had 35 ladies competing compared to Laney's five.
     This year every member of the team saw new personal best in all their events and each one has been offered multiple FULL scholarships. Some interested schools include UNLV, UC Davis, Univ. of Kansas, Univ. of New Mexico, Univ. of Central Florida, Louisiana Tech, SF State, and Arizona State, just to name a few.

Lady Eagles Results from Northern California Championships:

Nor-Cal Team Runner-ups

4x100m - 2nd, 46.77

100m - 2nd, Kayla Dickerson 12.02

100mh - 1st Nia Vance 13.97; 2nd, Brittany Brown 14.13

400m - 3rd, Mariama Hilburn 55.48

800m - 1st, Bibiana Enriquez 2:17.24 (Personal Record)

200m - 5th, Mariama Hilburn 24.64; 6th, Kayla Dickerson 24.66 (Personal Record)

4x400m - 2nd, 3:52.24 (Season Best)

Long Jump - 1st, Nia Vance 18'3"; 2nd, Brittany Brown 18'2"

Triple Jump - 1st, Brittany Brown 39'2"; 2nd, Nia Vance 38'1"



Lady Eagles Results from State Championships:

4th Place Team Overall

4x100m- 3rd, 46.23 (U.S.#10, Season Best and fastest time at Laney in 4 years)

100mh- 2nd, Nia Vance 13.91 (Personal Record, U.S. #6); 3rd, Brittany Brown 14.01 (PR, U.S. #8)

400m- 6th, Mariama Hilburn 55.41

100m- 4th, Kayla Dickerson 12.01

800m- 5th, Bibiana Enriquez 2:17.52

200m- 9th, Mariama Hilburn 25.01

4x400m- 4th, 3:52.58

Long Jump- 2nd, Nia Vance- 18’10”; 5th, Brittany Brown- 18’ .5”

Triple Jump- 2nd, Brittany Brown-40’ 6” (U.S. #7); 4th, Nia Vance- 39’7”

End of an era

Greg Smith, the respected athletic trainer for the Laney Eagles’ athletic teams for over 37 years, will be retiring on July 31. He will be missed by students and faculty alike.

At the 2017 Spring Sports Awards Banquet Athletic Director John Beam called Smith up to be recognized for his work over the years and presented him with an Eagles letterman jacket.

Smith was a baseball player at Pinole Valley high school before going on to play ball for Contra Costa College and later went to Cal, where he majored in chemistry.

As an athlete Smith had been around athletic trainers and had received treatment for an ankle injury. Smith was struggling with his major, so he decided to weigh his options, and he switched his major from chemistry to physical education.

“I knew what I wanted to do. These trainers didn’t have any grease under their nails and they were wearing the latest athletic gear,” he said.

He started his career with Peralta in 1980 at the College of Alameda, but would also cover games at both Merritt and Laney. As funding for sports programs at COA became shakier, he began to work full-time at Laney in 1986.

“Working with young people, you feel like you’re about their age”

Greg Smith, Laney Eagles’ athletic trainer

His job title was athletic trainer and equipment manager. At that time there was no certification required to be an athletic trainer. Smith could see the future was going to be about rehabbing injured athletes. He got certified as an athletic trainer.

Over the years he has helped countless athletes. He works with all of the sports at Laney. When asked what sport he liked to work with the best, he replied, “That’s too tough a question. I like being a ‘team’ player for each sport as it’s in season.”
Laney Head Baseball Coach Francisco Zapata remembered being worked on by Smith when he played baseball here in the mid-80s and broke his arm.

Smith says that he always enjoyed working at Laney because the students kept him feeling young.

“Working with young people, you feel like you’re about their age,” he said.

Smith is retiring as the Athletic Trainer/Equipment Manager, but he will still be around campus teaching Health Ed, First Aid and CPR.

Back in play: Laney again potential stadium site

Laney’s collective sigh of relief was cut short last week. The college is not out of the clear yet, as it appears that the Oakland A’s are still eyeing Peralta land.

The East Bay Times reported on May 16 that the “Laney College site” was still one of three sites being considered for a new A’s stadium.

The other two were still Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, and the current Oakland Coliseum location.

An article published in Oakland Magazine May 10 stated that the Oakland A’s were not only still looking at Peralta-owned land, but that it had become their preferred site for the new ballpark.

On May 7, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff told KTVU she believed that the A’s had narrowed down the stadium locations to either “one near Laney College or one near Jack London Square.”

A’s President Dave Kaval did not respond to requests for comment on the recent reports.

In an email to the Tower, Peralta Chancellor Jowel Laguerre said that he knew as much as the Times on the subject, and seemed skeptical about prospects to build a stadium on Peralta land.

“No formal request has been made for Peralta-owned land,” Laguerre said in an email to the Tower. “It looks like the A’s have a lot of investigation to do before being in a position to make any such request.”

Laguerre did, however, tell the East Bay Times that “nothing is impossible,” and that the area between Peralta’s district offices and the Embarcadero was “crying for something good to happen.”

Oakland Magazine reported that the proposed stadium could be built where the Peralta district offices currently reside, rather than Laney’s football fields—as was previously reported.

But as Machine Technology instructor Peter Brown said, the hypothetical stadium raises a very real question: “Where are people going to park?”

The impacts would be the result of thousands of people walking between Lake Merritt BART station and Laney campus for more than 80 home games per season—plus special events

Although reports state that the A’s are looking at the Peralta district offices, Brown said there is barely enough room for a stadium on that land, much less a parking lot.

“They’re going to park on Laney land. There’s no way around it,” he said.

Brown found it unsurprising that the A’s are seriously considering the area for a new stadium, considering the importance large franchises like Major League Baseball place on community colleges populated by mostly low-income students.

“My judgment on how Laney is valued is real clear: We’ve got a bunch of broke-ass students, we got a bunch of broke-ass teachers and we’re clearly not important enough to fix the campus,” Brown said sarcastically.

While many of Laney’s faculty are shooting sideways glances at the A’s, Faculty Senate President Donald Moore is, so far, unconcerned.

According to Moore, a friend on the Oakland City Council has assured him that both the council and the mayor are still pushing for the Howard Terminal site.

“The mayor supports the Howard site. So [the Laney College site] is a no-starter unless the city decides to check somewhere else out,” he said.

Moore also stated that he had no interest in any of Laney College’s land being sold to the A’s, and that even a ballpark at the Peralta District Offices site would bring numerous negative impacts to the Laney campus.

The impacts would be the result of thousands of people walking between Lake Merritt BART station and Laney campus for more than 80 home games per season—plus special events—as discussed by former Laney Athletics Director Stan Peters.

During his time as athletics director, Peters led multiple campaigns against the sale of Laney land to various would-be buyers such as Kaiser Hospital.

And he hasn’t changed his position on the subject.

“I still fail to see what this will do for the academic environment at Laney.”

Signed: Courtenay Brown

Laney athlete celebrates SF State admission with signing ceremony in gym

Laney’s star shooting guard Courtenay Brown signed a letter of intent to attend San Francisco State University in the fall. The signing ceremony was held in the Laney College gym on April 26. Her coach, family, and friends were there to congratulate her.

She accepted a full scholarship to the university where she plans to major in kinesiology. She will be a shooting guard for SFSU’s basketball team, the Gators, who play in the NCAA division II.

After she graduates from SFSU Brown wants to become either an athletic trainer or work in rehabilitating athletes after injuries.

Brown lived in Stockton and attended Weston Ranch High School, but during her junior year, she went to Encinal High School in Alameda where she helped their basketball team into the playoffs. For her senior year she returned to Stockton to live with her father Anthony Brown.

Although Brown was recruited by Humbolt State University out of high school, she decided to attend a community college to play basketball. She didn’t want to attend Humboldt State University, but she did want a basketball scholarship to finance her education.

Her sister, Jordan Brown, who lived in Alameda, had played for Laney, so Brown was familiar with the school.

Brown shows her lighter side at the signing ceremony in the Laney College gym.

Brown has been a starter on the team since she came in as a red shirt in 2014. “I had a much larger role [this year],” she said.

This season Brown averaged 18 points per game overall and 21.3 in the conference.

Approximately three games into the Bay Valley Conference basketball season, the number of players on the Laney College Eagles basketball team was greatly reduced. Due to injuries and eligibility issues, the squad went from 12 to five players.

When asked if this created a difficult situation for her, Brown replied that it didn’t because all five of the remaining players had to dedicate themselves “a little more to playing harder.”

She explained that without the ability to switch out players to rest, ”I never had to tell anyone to play harder because we already were.” Although the team was playing hard, Brown admitted that anyone fouling out would have been a big problem.

Fortunately, the team was able to avoid this fate until the last game of its season, the championship game against Solano.

Laney College Baseball

A 22-win season

The Laney College Baseball team finished their 2016-17 season with a 22-18 record overall, good for a second-place tie in the Bay Valley Conference with a 13-8 mark along with Los Medanos College and Napa Valley College.
At left, Laney College center fielder Mark Johnson waits for his turn at bat during the Eagles’ 13-4 victory over Solano College on April 27.

Brown voted BVC MVP, first team all-state

Laney College sophomore guard Courtney Brown was selected as the Bay Valley Conference MVP and to the first team of the California Community College all-state squad. Brown led the Eagles to a 17-11 overall record and a second-place finish in the BVC (11-3). Brown had an 18.0 scoring average for the season and scored 19 points in a 73-53 NorCal playoff loss at City College of San Francisco on Feb. 24.

Marshall football should get help in mid-year signing period

After its most difficult season in nearly a decade, it became clear Marshall needed immediate, athletic help at many positions.

As the mid-year junior-college signing period begins Wednesday, such help may be on the way. The Thundering Herd is expected sign as many as four juco standouts to binding letters of intent.

Two of those played in the California juco circuit, one is a Florida native who played in Iowa and the other is a Georgia native who played in Kansas.

To hear their juco coaches talk — they’re biased, of course — they just might be playmakers the MU programs need.

Armani Levias stands out in that group because of stature, at the least. He is a big tight end from Laney College in Oakland, California, who was once a pocket-passing prospect in high school.

That was when he was 215 pounds.

“He’s a difference-maker because he’s 6-5, 250 pounds and can move,” said Laney coach John Beam. “He’s got really good hands — most of his catches are for touchdowns because when we get in the red zone, he creates a lot of mismatches. And he’s learning to become a physical blocker.”

Levias hails from of Pittsburg, California, not far east from Oakland. He would follow the footsteps of Laney alums Chuck Walker and Troy Evans, both Herd wide receivers.

In the Fresno area, Artis Johnson wasn’t cheated out of playing time at Reedley College. He played strong safety, but did so much more.

His coach says he won’t sign Wednesday, but expects the Texas native to do so later in the period, which lasts through Jan. 17. Johnson redshirted after an injury his first season, so he would have two years to play two at Marshall.

“He was our strong safety, outside linebacker and also our ‘wildcat’ quarterback,” said coach Eric Marty. “He returned kicks, he did it all.

“He’s 6-1, 210 or 215 and looks the part. He’s explosive and changes directions well. He’s going to bring a lot of versatility as far as the ability to play field safety, or roll down into that outside linebacker position. He’s one of the best athletes on our team.”

The Herd could be picking up a quick slot receiver in Marcel Williams. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound native of Bunnell, Florida, played at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa City, Iowa.

His 2016 season was cut short by an injury to his thumb, for which he had surgery. His coach, Jesse Montalto, expects Williams to be full-go next month.

“He’s a very good football player, smart player. He actually played both ways for us a freshman,” Montalto said. “But he’s explosive. He’s as fast a kid as you’ll find at this level. He ran good times this summer; I think he ran as low as a 4.41 [40-yard dash].”

The fourth reported juco commitment is cornerback Kereon Merrell, a native of Vienna, Georgia, who played at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. It is not clear when he will sign.

Those who sign this week are expected to begin classes at Marshall in January and participate in spring practice.

Laney makes history with double win over CCS

Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles.
The Laney College football team has defeated City College of San Francisco twice in one season for the first time ever.
The Eagles (9-2) finished their best season since 2007 when they defeated the Rams 49-35 on Dec. 3 in the San Francisco Community College Bowl at CCSF. Laney had previously defeated CCSF 18-13 on Sept. 2 in the season opener in Oakland.

“I think the emphasis of the season is that we started strong and ended strong,” head coach John Beam said. “They played with tremendous enthusiasm and never quit.
“We won two games in the last minute and it just shows that the players kept fighting.”
Laney gained a school-record 652 yards in total offense against CCSF, including 360 yards rushing.
Quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz had his best performance of the season, completing 11 of 20 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Marcel Dancy ran 19 times for 117 yards.
Wide receiver Sean Pinson caught five passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
Laney jumped off to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes of the first quarter. Suszckiewicz threw a 46-yard scoring pass to Pinson just three plays into the game and Ahmari Davis ran 42 yards for another touchdown three minutes later.
But the Eagles couldn’t hold the lead. CCSF came back to score two touchdowns in the latter part of the quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
It stayed that way after a scoreless second quarter, but things really got going in the third quarter when six touchdowns were scored—four in a span of less than three minutes.
Suszckiewicz threw an 86-yard TD pass to Pinson for a 20-14 lead with 7:46 left in the quarter and, after a CCSF fumble, then threw a 41-yard scoring pass to Michael Maxwell for a 27-14 lead with 7:25 left.
After another CCSF turnover, Suszckiewicz threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, this one of 3 yards to Bryce Grandison with 5:31 left for a 34-14 lead.
The score stood for 13 seconds. Namane Modise ran the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for the Rams to cut the lead to 34-21. CCSF scored again with 1:18 left in the period and all of a sudden Laney was clinging to a 34-28 lead.
But on the first play from scrimmage after that score, Laney running back John McDonald ran a scintillating 70 yards for a touchdown with 1:02 left in the period to extend the lead to 40-28. McDonald evaded three CCSF defenders inside the 10-yard line before scoring.
The Rams cut the lead to 40-35 with 14:35 left in the fourth quarter, but Suszckiewicz scored on a 1-yard run with 7:45 left in the game to push the Laney lead to 47-35 and give the Eagles a little breathing room.
From that point on, the Eagles defense stiffened and forced a safety with 4:02 left in the game that gave Laney the final two points of the game.

Senator’s speech inspires athletes

N.J. Senator Corey Booker visits Laney College Field House to talk confidence, success

New Jersey Senator Corey Booker (D) was the featured guest at a gathering of the Laney football team dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20. The team, now ranked fourth in the state, has a tradition of having a meal together following their last practice prior to away games.
The former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Booker is a rising star in the Democratic Party. He gave the keynote address at this year’s Democratic National Convention, speaking right before First Lady Michelle Obama. Booker was even considered for the role of vice president this year by Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
After a heaping meal of salad, spaghetti and bread, there was excitement in the air.
Laney College President Patricia Stanley, Executive Vice Chancellor of Strategic Planning and Advancement Elñora Webb, and Laney College Dean of Student Services Philip King were also present.
They, like everyone else, were waiting for the senator.
Webb got up and introduced herself to the team. She then introduced Stanley and King. Shortly, after she was finished, Peralta Chancellor Jowel Laguerre arrived.
When the senator entered the room, there was a round of wild applause.
Although he is from New Jersey, he attended Stanford University before becoming a Rhodes Scholar and later attended Yale Law School.
Head Coach John Beam arranged, through mutual friends, to have the senator, who was in town raising funds for Barbra Lee’s re-election campaign, speak to the team.

Laney Football Head Coach John Beam and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker pose for a picture after addressing the team and assorted dignitaries. The Senator, who was an All-American and attended Stanford University, inspired the team.

From the moment he began speaking, Booker had the entire room hanging on every word he said. He told stories about being a football player and about his young adult experiences that the players could relate to.
He talked about mistakes that he had made and the goals that he had set for himself.
He told the players that “any one of you could succeed at Stanford.” He let them know that all they had to do was set the bar high for themselves. He suggested they write all their goals down.
He told them how he had written all his goals on a whiteboard and made a promise to get no grade lower than a “B” at Stanford.
He also told them, “Confidence is a choice, and I have seen people win just through confidence and swagger.”
He also said, “You need to model the changes you want to see in the world.”
Many of the things he said seem like standard inspirational speeches, but because they were coming from such a dynamic speaker, who peppered his advice with personal stories tailored to his audience, his audience was entranced.
After his speech, Booker opened up the floor for questions. The players asked everything from how he got through hard times to how he decided to get into politics.
At one point, Coach Beam interrupted to point out that one player, Bryce Grandison, had been elected president of the Laney Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
Following the question and answer period, Booker was presented with a Laney Football T-shirt.
Coach Beam reminded the players that a United States senator had taken his valuable time to speak to them because of their potential both on and off the field, so they should take his advice to heart.
The coach also reminded them that potential was a “bad” word because it meant they had not yet achieved what they were capable of.
That weekend, the team defeated The College of the Sequoias 35 to 6, moving from fifth to fourth place in the state.

Eagles finally defeat long-time rival Rams

Joseph Butler made a diving interception in the end zone with no time remaining to preserve Laney College’s 18-13 upset victory over defending state champion City College of San Francisco on Sept. 2 in Oakland.
Fate was not kind to the Eagles the next week. Battling 96-degree heat, a three-hour drive and dubious air quality from recent fires in the area, Laney lost to Butte College in Oroville 38-20 on Sept. 10.
Laney’s next game is on Friday, Sept. 16, at home against the Feather River College Golden Eagles. Game time is 7 p.m.
But getting back to the epic victory in the season opener, the Eagles (1-0) scored three times in the second half to erase a 13-0 CCSF lead.
The victory broke a 10-game losing steak against CCSF (0-1). It was the first victory for Laney over the Rams since 1995. There were some years when the two teams did not play each other.
Eagles quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Devond Blair, Jr. with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left in the game to give Laney its first lead. Suszckiewicz’s touchdown pass ended an eight-play, 96-yard drive.

Laney pulled to within 13-12 when Suszckiewicz (13-21, 169 yards, interception) threw a 32-yard TD pass to Sean Pinson with nine minutes left. The Eagles scored their first touchdown when Andrew Ve’e threw 3 yards to Armani Levias with 11:29 left in the third quarter.
Rams quarterback Zach Masoli, despite throwing three interceptions in the first half, got CCSF on the scoreboard first when he threw an 80-yard TD pass to Chikwado Nzerem with 53 seconds left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
CCSF increased the lead to 13-0 when Masoli threw a 21-yard scoring pass to Easop Winton with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
Laney running back Marcel Dancy ran 22 times for 129 yards, which included a 51-yard run in the third quarter. CCSF, which pretty much eschewed the run in the second half, rushed for 58 yards.
In the game against Butte, quarterback Andrew Ve’e threw one touchdown pass and ran for another as the Eagles were outscored 21-13 in the fourth quarter.
Ve’e (12-24, 160 yards) threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Sean Pinson in the second quarter and then ran 14 yards for another score in the fourth. Ronald Thomas had a 3-yard TD run with 1:22 left in the game for the Eagles’ final score.
FEATHER RIVER: This will be only the second meeting between the Eagles and the Golden Eagles, who are located in Quincy. Laney defeated Feather River 48-35 at home in 2008 in the Eagle Bowl.

Bases covered

Laney athletes score high on the field and in class

In community college sports, it’s not always about the Ws and the Ls.
It’s also about the GPAs.
This year, the Laney College baseball team has seven players who made the All-State Academic Team.
The team recognizes student-athletes who demonstrated academic excellence.
The Eagles have five pitchers named to the All-Academic team, whose GPAs are listed below in parentheses:

Ben Clegg (3.59)
John Punla (3.50)
Rory D’Alleva-Keane (3.55)
Peter Fosbery (3.80)
Christian Marquez (3.52)

Other players honored are:

Ryan Myers (3.74)
Brennan Machine (3.58)

Myers is a first baseman, and Machine is a utility player.
“It’s all about commitment,” head coach Francisco Zapata said. “Work on the field, work in the classroom.”
It’s what we are about here at Laney. These guys put in the work.”

Race for the finish

Merritt, Laney represent district at Track and Field championships

The California Community College Northern California Section Track and Field Championships were held May 13 at Chabot College in Hayward.

Merritt College had eight of its athletes representing the school. Laney College had three—freshmen Mariama Hilburn and Bibiana Enriquez and sophomore Alyssa Emerson.

Ali Arsiniega started things off for Merritt by taking fifth place in the 1500-meter run at an official time of 4 minutes, 52.93 seconds.

She was confident about the race the evening before when she took a break from her team bonding over a game of UNO to talk about the race.

Arsiniega was well aware of her competitors. “They are all really talented girls,” she said. Arsiniega said that most of the girls that she was running against are also 5K runners who would have the advantage in endurance.

She felt her advantage in her quest to qualify for the state championships was in her ability to kick.

“It’s all about who can kick the longest at the last lap,” she said.

Arsiniega will be competing Saturday, May 21, at San Diego Mesa College for the state championship along with a few of her teammates.

Thunderbirds sophomore Tyler Daugherty took second place in the men’s 1500-meter run in 3:55.11, narrowly missing first place.

Daugherty finish just nine-hundredths of a second behind American River College’s Conor Wells who ran 13.55.02.

Freshman Asa Allen will be running the 110-meter hurdles for Merritt after qualifying with a fourth-place finish of 14.62.

Ray’Ven Sanders will round out the group of Merritt four after the freshman landed in third place in the women’s high jump with a mark of 1.56 meters.

Merritt track coach Brock Drazen should be happy as he correctly predicted that he would have his hurdlers, 1500-meter runners, and the high-jumping Sanders all qualify for San Diego.

Drazen also thought that his 4×400-meter team would have an outside shot at qualifying but it came short one place and came up just short as it finished fifth.
Before the 4×100 relay team lost their first-leg runner to injury, they were ranked fourth in the state and would have performed well.

Hillburn is the sole qualifier for Laney in the 400-meter dash for Laney after battling for a second-place finish in the event at Chabot. Her time was 57.38.

Laney Alumn and Broncos’ C.J. Anderson credits Bay Area for NFL success

Laney Alumn and Broncos’ C.J. Anderson credits Bay Area for NFL success

In a second-floor hallway at Laney College, on a wall outside the football team meeting room, hangs a framed No. 22 Denver Broncos jersey.

John Beam, the Oakland school’s head football coach and athletic director, placed it there to inspire the next generation of Eagles players...