Carmela Cardama Baez finished second in the race back in 2019 and with the pandemic last season affecting everything from sports to entertainment, it was a long road back, “I was not able to go home till November last year. For me at the beginning was really hard. The situation in Spain was not good while my parents were in a lockdown was tough. ”
Following the race, CardamaBaez talked about how her mental toughness and preparation during the pandemic played a part in her final race as a Duck, “It was hard…It was just a long time without competing…it has been a trial and error and just getting better every race and we were able to put it together for nationals and that worked out well.”
She closed out her final race in the new Hayward Field which is allowing some fans to attend both the NCAA Track and Field Championships and the upcoming US Track and Field Olympic Trials. Baez knows their support will be needed, “It was awesome. I am looking forward to Olympic Trials with even more fans. The magic of Hayward is in the fans. We need that sound and the clapping. We need it.”
Carmela Cardama Baez won the 10k Title in 32 minutes, 16.13 seconds which was a personal best for her. She waited until the right time to use that extra burst in the final 200 meters. She was able to hold off Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat. She will not be at Hayward for the Olympic Trials as she closes out her career as a Duck and has her last final exam today.
Her dream of competing at Hayward Field started when she was young and it was realized Thursday night, “It means a lot. I’ve been dreaming of a big race for a really long time. I was maybe a sophomore in high school when I found out about Hayward Field….it’s been this long time waiting and it just means so much…to get this today means a lot and it reminds me of the work, time, and patience it takes and how you need people in your corner.”
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships finish for the Women on Saturday with a National Champion team to be crowned. The Men will wrap up the competition on Friday night.