On To The Finals
May 13, 2012
By Emmy Addison
Class of 2014
Senior Reika Kijima has one last finish line to cross before wrapping up her high school running career.
Last Saturday, the OVS track star competed in the CIF preliminary meet at Carpinteria High, earning a second place finish in her heat of the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:09. That time qualified her for CIF finals at Mt. Sac this Saturday and accomplished a goal she has been aiming to reach all season.
“I’m excited and nervous,” said Reika. “But I’m lucky to get to run with all the nationally recognized runners. I think it’s a great experience for me to have before I leave high school.”
Reika, 18, sprinted into cross-country season, taking the Condor League Championship at the league finals with ease.
She continued running through the winter sports season, training and conditioning for track and field.
But due to an irregular heart beat just before the start of the track season, Reika was unable to undergo strenuous workouts and it was uncertain whether she would be able to compete in the league meets. However, after several weeks of rest and light running, she recovered and was able to enter league competition.
She won first place in all her individual events throughout the season, crushing the competition during a friendly meet, a league meet and the league final respectively.
Reika sprained her ankle the week before the league final and still managed to claim first place in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs.
She was dubbed the girls’ track and field MVP of 2012. Along with a commemorative bowl, she claimed four medals, and broke the record, set in 1998, for the 800-meter run with a time of 2:25.
Having won race after race, she is now gearing up to take on 35 other top female runners in the CIF Southern Section.
OVS track coach Fred Alvarez said he's proud of the way Reika has raced all season, but he doesn't believe he has yet seen her best race.
"It's all coming together for her and it's so great to see," Mr. Alvarez said. "Reika works hard and she deserves all of the good things that are coming her way." Photos courtesy of Max Pacholski, Class of 2012.