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Short of All-American status, Dean gets feet wet at nationals

Short of All-American status, Dean gets feet wet at nationals

Cal State Stanislaus sophomore triple jumper and Delhi High graduate Rashee Dean took 12th place at last week’s NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships at Al Brenda Track at Warrior Stadium ...

POSTED May 31, 2011 8:00 p.m.

As much as he wanted to succeed, Cal State Stanislaus sophomore triple jumper Rashee Dean just had too many obstacles in front of him. He was in pain. He was competing in rain. And his return to competition was on his college level’s biggest, most nerve-wracking stage.

He didn’t use excuses, so he went on to say this: “I think I did pretty well despite all those circumstances.”

After being out for nearly two months due to a left quad strain, Dean made his triumphant comeback at last week’s NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships on his home turf — the Al Brenda Track at Warrior Stadium on the Stanislaus campus in front of his teammates, coaches and other supporters. He was hoping to finish somewhere in the top eight to earn All-American status, but the obstacles he faced turned out to be too much.

With a sudden, cold downpour, he humbly accepted a 12th-place showing on Saturday night after jumping a distance of 47 feet, 9 1/4 inches (or 14.56 meters) on his third attempt. The person who once again took advantage of the state-of-the-art facility was Cal State L.A.’s Josh Como, the national winner in the triple jump after recording 54-2 1/2 and a stadium record. He captured the California Collegiate Athletic Association title three weeks earlier at Brenda Track.

The rain was a surprise nuisance during the competition, but his coach said it also set up an ironic metaphor for Dean and his future as a Warrior. The Delhi High graduate has two more years of eligibility at Stanislaus.

“I actually did not think it would rain and I told Rashee that this experience will just be for him to get his feet wet, but I didn’t know that would happen literally,” Stanislaus coach Geoff Bradshaw said, chuckling. “Whatever happens here is fuel for the future.”

Dean expressed disappointment about his finish. He’s not going to dwell on it, though, especially knowing that he competed at about 90-percent strength.

“For the past seven weeks,” he said, “I probably had my head down a lot of the time, but coming into this meet and seeing all these athletes and being a part of it, it was more of an honor on my part. It was being a part of pretty much history. It doesn’t happen often to athletes around here and the United States in general. I wouldn’t take this day back for anything.”

Saturday was his first competition since suffering a hip injury early in the season. His last meet was on April 2 at the American River College Invitational in Sacramento, where he provisionally qualified for the national meet with a jump of 49-2 1/2. That mark was just enough, as he entered last week as the 11th seed.

Dean’s first jump, however, resulted in re-injuring his hip. He was not the same, but he still managed to pull through in front of a home audience at the national meet, a three-day event that ended Saturday night and attracted thousands of spectators and athletes. He continued on and finished with his second best distance of the season.

“To me, this was more of a learning experience,” Dean concluded. “Seeing that I have two more years, I can look back to this day and think of how much I wanted it. I think that’s going to be the fuel for the fire for the next two years.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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