SAN MARCOS (5-18-2018) -- Palomar's first-year women's track & field coach Sonia Rodriguez, who guided the Comets to a second-place finish in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference finals despite having no facility on campus to host a meet and no practice facility on campus, has been selected as PCAC Coach of the Year for the recently concluded 2018 season by conference coaches.
Rodriguez, who formerly was head coach at Vista High School and also doubles as a coach at Mission Vista High, an Oceanside-based school in the Vista Unified School District, was hired as the Comets' new track and cross country coach prior to the fall 2007 cross country season.
Her track & field team practices at a local high school.
Rodriguez guided the Comets, who scored 168 points, to its second-place finish in the conference championship meet to San Diego Mesa, who held off Palomar by scoring 179 points on April 21 at San Bernardino Valley College. Mesa has one of the best community college track & field facilities in the state on site (Merrill Douglas Stadium) and was the host team for the Southern California Community College meet.
The Comets had two double winners in the conference finals, Besabe Reyes in the hammer throw and discus and Katie Preston in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Palomar won seven events and qualified 10 athletes for the Southern California meet.
In the CCCAA State Championships at Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium, Rodriguez's standout freshman steeplechase runner Hanna Lopez finished in fourth place and Tria Ismay placed sixth.
Rodriguez, a 2002 Vista High School graduate, was a CIF-San Diego Section cross country champion and fourth-place finisher in the state meet. She went on to compete in both sports as a walk-on athlete at UC Irvine.