April 22, 2012
WALNUT, Calif. -- As their slogan aptly claims, Mount San Antonio College is “where the world’s best athletes come to compete." Over the weekend, two athletes from The Master’s College had the privilege of joining that number in the 54th Annual Mt. SAC Relays. The four-day event included athletes ranging from high school, collegiate, professional elite and Olympic developmental divisions.
Mustang runners Anthony Pizzo and John Gilberstson competed among the best on the storied track of Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Over the years, the event has witnessed many world record breaking performances as numerous Olympians and Olympic hopefuls gather at one of the most historic meets in the nation.
On Friday night, John Gilbertson stepped onto the track to race in the open-B heat of the Men’s 5000 meter run, with hopes of finishing the 5k under 14 minutes. In the history of the Santa Clarita Valley, the fastest time ever recorded by a local athlete in the 5000m was 13:56.40 by Dave Hartman from Canyon High School. Gilbertson was well aware of this mark as he toed the line before the gun fired. Few collegiate athletes are able to break the 14 minute barrier, but Gilbertson was prepared and determined to do so.
Positioning himself well throughout the race, Gilbertson stayed close to the front of the field for all 12 & ½ laps, allowing his competition to lead and pull him to a fast time. As the leaders took off on the bell lap, Gilbertson trailed close on their heels and demonstrated his exceptional closing speed. With a large crowd of teammates, family and coaches cheering him on from the railing of the stadium grandstand, Gilbertson crossed the finish line placing 4th out of 29 in 13:56.56 while simultaneously setting a new school record and achieving a personal best.
“What Gilbertson accomplished on Friday cannot be overstated,” Coach Schroeder commented. “Very few collegiate athletes of any division will ever run under 14 minutes. It was an honor to represent the college among the best in our sport. God continues to bless our program beyond what we would have thought possible.”
Anthony Pizzo was also accepted to compete at Mt. SAC in the Invite Elite heat of the Men’s 10,000 meter run. However, after a rough start, Coach Schroeder opted to pull him out of the race.
After a week of preparation, Gilbertson, Pizzo, and the rest of the TMC men’s track team will compete in the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships on April 27th-28th, hosted by Azusa Pacific University.