By JONAMAR JACINTO
Alexus Surnip felt at home in her visit to Sacramento State.
Last Friday, she signed with the Hornets track and field team at the East Union library.
The Valley Oak League’s reigning 100-meter hurdles and long jump champion did not realize she was on Sac State’s radar until after a routine workout in March she noticed an unexpected email message from head coach Kenny McDaniel on her phone.
Weeks later, she and her parents made an impromptu visit to the campus while on her way back to Manteca from checking out other schools in Oregon.
“I attended a practice and saw a bunch of people I already kind of knew from competing against them,” Surnip said, adding that she also has many relatives and friends who attend the school. “There was a great bond within the team, and we really like coach McDaniel. That’s when I knew that I really wanted to go there.
“He talked about his philosophy, how he runs practice and everything. I’ve been running track since I was 6 or 7 and I’ve had a bunch of different coaches, and he’s a lot like what I’ve already been surrounded by.”
She joins a women’s track program that placed second in the Big Sky Conference last year and includes familiar faces such as current freshman Jasmine Correa, a former standout sprinter at Sierra.
Sac State is getting a veteran track athlete on the rise. Last Thursday, she set a personal record in winning the VOL Championships long jump with a mark of 18 feet, 3 ¾ inches. She also took first in the 100 hurdles, was part of the winning 4x100 and took third in the triple jump.
Ranked third among long jumpers in the Sac-Joaquin Section, according to athletic.net Surnip aims to surpass the 19-foot barrier for the first time and advance to the CIF State Championships.
“It’s a great relief,” Surnip said about the signing. She plans on majoring in business with a focus in human resource management. “I don’t feel as stressed knowing where I will be the next four years of my life. I definitely feel excited.”