Cindy Schmandt Scannella

Cindy Schmandt Scannella, Hall of Fame Athlete

A decade after it became legal for women to compete in track races longer than a half mile, Cindy Schmandt of Santa Barbara High ran a two-mile that would have beaten most of the boys who competed in high school.

The year was 1979. The place was Cerritos College. The event was the CIF Southern Section girls’ two mile final. Schmandt ran the first mile in 5:06.6 a blistering pace. The only hope for the runners chasing her was that she would melt down. This was not a likely prospect. But with 500 yards to go, after two rivals had closed the gap, Schmandt picked up speed again. She was too strong and too determined to let any of the other runners go by her.

Such is the commitment that produces records. Schmandt crossed the finish line in 10 minutes, 20 seconds- the fastest girls’ two-mile ever recorded in a Southern California high school meet.

In the 18 years since then, just five other runners have beaten Schmandt’s time in CIF-SS competition and her 4-A division record lasted until 1995. She still holds Santa Barbara County records for the two-mile and the mile (4:51.9)

Where did she get her drive? “From my father.” she said. She remembers going to baseball games with Rodger Schmandt. “He gave me my love for sport and my competitiveness.”

Schmandt took those qualities to Cal-Berkeley and was an All-American in the women’s 3,000 meters as a sophomore, but injuries cut her career short. She coached cross-country and track at New Mexico.

Married to former Pac-10 hurdles champion, James Scannella, mothering their 4 year old son is now Cindy’s joy. “I focus on one thing at a time and do the best I can.” she says.