Meet the Athletes

Analicia Najera

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Compiled by Analicia Najera and Dutches Richards/Times Staff

 

Anthony Phanthavong
Event: Sprint
Age: 20
Major: History

Anthony Phanthavong is beginning his first season as captain with the SJCC sprint team and said he is working hard to get ready for the season.

Phanthavong is improving on teamwork, patience and chemistry with the sprint team. His coach said Phanthavong is a great athlete and knows his part as a captain.

He first became interested in track during his years at San Jose High Academy, when his football coach of two years told him he was a fast runner. Since then, he continued track at SJCC.

He said his goal for the season is to make it to the State meet with his teammates.

After SJCC, Phanthavong plans on attending Long Beach because he likes the area and wants to run for the track team.

“I think we are going to show the other schools who we are,” Phanthavong said.

The athletic accomplishments he is most proud of are being undefeated in his senior year for track and winning the 100 meters in 11.3 seconds at the West Valley Division finals.

Phanthavong said his biggest influence in his life is his father because he has done everything for him, and he wants to make him proud.

Outside of track, he said he enjoys football, basketball, photography and hiking.

 

Tavaita Bulai
Events: Hammer, discus, javelin, shot put
Age: 21
Major: Kinesiology

Tavaita Bulai is in her first season with SJCC track team and is the only female to compete in all throwing events.

“I feel like I’m one of the guys,” Bulai said. “They make me strong. When I see them lift weights, I want to do that, too.”

With eight months of experience, she has improved on her throwing. She started throwing at 40 feet and progressed to 120-130 feet.

Bulai said this was something she never thought she was good at. Whenever she got angry or bored, Bulai would throw and loved it.

She described her coach, Mike Mai, as being a positive, patient person, who is committed to what he loves to do.

“He told me, ‘a true athlete is deaf,’” Bulai said, “which means, if I know someone is saying negative stuff about me, then I don’ t listen.”

Her goals include: making it to the State meet, being of the best hammer throwers in the junior college and being in the junior Olympics.

After SJCC, Bulai plans on transferring to the University of San Francisco.

Bulai played rugby and volleyball throughout high school at St. Joseph’ s Secondary School in Fiji.

Some activities she enjoys outside of track are swimming, weightlifting and hiking.