Kessa Rychlick steps up to the starting line preparing herself for the 100 meter hurdles, the gun goes off, and in 15.75 seconds she’s broken the three year winning drought plaguing the women’s track team here at PCC.
But it took a lot longer than 16 seconds to actually achieve that win, in fact it took a change of head coaches and almost three years of building up the team to do so.
Rychlick started running when she was 11 years old at her own discretion and continued to run when she began attending Verdugo Hills High School. It was there at Verdugo Hills that Rychlick broke the 300 meter hurdles record her sophomore year, and went on to league finals during her junior and senior years.
After graduating from high school in 2017, Rychlick came to PCC where she wanted to run track under new head coach Innocent Egbunike and to continue her academics.
“When I first started running here, the track team wasn’t doing so well due to the coaching dynamics,” Rychlick said. “The previous head coach was mostly absent and wasn’t focused on coaching effectively”.
But that all changed when Egbunike was brought in, who was a former world-class sprinter who won a bronze medal as a member of Nigeria’s 4×400 meter relay team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
“Coach Innocent is great” Rychlick said. “He’s always on top of things for the team and brings out the best in us to make us an all around great team”.
Despite being a sophomore, Rychlick is still going to attend PCC for one more year due to the long scheduling of her civil engineering major requirements.
“I usually take 16 units on average each semester, the most I’ve taken is 19 and that was a lot” Rychlick said. “But I know that I can balance my coursework with my athletics”.
Rychlick hopes to transfer to places such as UCLA, UCSD, USC, or Cal Poly SLO particularly focusing on her academics with her athletics being secondary to her goals.
“I’m a student-athlete and that term means I’m going to be a student first and foremost so I want this coming year to be focused on school so I can transfer to a great [engineering] program”. Rychlick said.
Rychlick also wants to minor in architecture in order to vertically integrate her skill set of being a civil engineer. She wants to be able to design and actually build the structures all by herself with her degree.
But as team captain, Rychlick hopes to inspire everyone to be the best they can be and for the team to take home more wins next season.
“My hope for the team next season is that we’re gonna have more runners and to be the best [team] out there”.