sheila sobchik

Willimena Cisco started running track to get in shape for basketball. And while basketball is her passion, track is what she excels at – and that fact is vindicated by her qualifying for the NCAA Championships on June 7-10 in Sacramento, Calif.

Cisco has been running track since ninth grade and quickly picked up the rhythm and three-step process hurdlers need. Soon she realized track was her future and gave up basketball.

Cisco, who moved to Sacramento at the age of four after her family left Liberia, qualified as an at-large bid to the national championships in the 100-meter hurdles after placing seventh at the West Region Championships in Provo, Utah over the weekend.

Cisco reached her pinnacle this year when she set the Cal Poly record in the 100-meter hurdles with a mark of 13.39 seconds, breaking the previous 21-year-old record held by CeCe Chandler by .08 seconds.

“One of things I wanted to do when I came to Cal Poly was get my name up on the plaque,” Cisco said.

Cisco said that Chandler has been keeping tabs on her since her sophomore year and e-mailed her when she broke the record – and wasn’t at all unhappy about it.

The track star is also the women’s team captain, a role where she strives to serve as a liaison between coaches and athletes.

Cisco’s teammates Luke Llamas and Deirdre Byrne will join her at the NCAA National Championships held at Sacramento State. This may be Cisco’s last year in track but she doesn’t plan on stopping.

“I am starting to get to my physical peak, so it would be wise to continue,” she said.

A strong performance in Sacramento wouldn’t hurt her chances of receiving a professional contract.

If she can’t get a sponsorship, however, the senior recreation administration major with a concentration in sports management wants to coach at the intercollegiate level. She would like to take the knowledge she has learned from school and participating in track and apply it to her career.

But for now, Cisco wouldn’t mind a few more races.

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