Region champs Mt. San Antonio, Hartnell, American River set for CCCAA Track & Field Finals

Photo by Dean Lofgren
Photo by Dean Lofgren
 
BAKERSFIELD - Following a sweep of both the women’s and men’s titles at the Southern California Championships, Mt. San Antonio College will be seeking 2018 California Community College Athletic Association state crowns Friday and Saturday (May 18-19) at Bakersfield College’s Memorial Stadium.
 
Standing in the way of the Mounties in the women’s competition are Northern California champion Hartnell and runner-up American River, along with SoCal runner-up Cerritos – the defending state champions.
 
College of the Sequoias will defend its men’s title, led by returning state running MVP Quincy Hall. American River, however, edged the Giants by 3 1/2 points for the NorCal crown last week. Hall is the reigning USA Track & Field National Junior (under age 20) champion in the 400 meter hurdles and set a meet record winning the Pan American Junior gold medal in that event last summer. He was the WORLD leader at 400 meters for awhile earlier this year when he ran 44.50 at the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona on April 5. He has run 49.65 for the 400 hurdles this season (at the Stanford Invitation), also a world ranking time.
 
Southern California runner-up Riverside will also bring its speed to challenge Sequoias, which won every NorCal men’s lane race (through 800 meters, including both relays).
 
MEET TO BE WEBCAST & TELECAST; CEREMONY WITH WORLD RECORD BREAKER JIM RYUN:
There will be a live webcast of Friday’s competition during the 10,000 meter races in the 8 p.m. time period and for Saturday’s competition, which features an opening ceremony at 3:45 p.m. That will be a commemoration with legendary miler Jim Ryun, who set his fabled world record of 3:51.1 at the Bakersfield stadium just over a half century ago on June 23, 1967. Ryun will also present the awards for the 1,500 meter races (since the mile is no longer contested collegiately).
 
There will be a 2-hour (edited) national telecast of the meet approximately a week later on ELEVEN SPORTS USA, the new international sports TV network.
 
Weekend Webcast link:  http://baosn.tv/channel_2/
 
Regarding ELEVEN SPORTS:
Founded in 2015, ELEVEN SPORTS USA is a global sports provider dedicated to delivering world-class international and domestic sports and lifestyle entertainment. The CCCAA Track & Field Championships will be scheduled to air on both digital and linear platforms throughout the USA. The network is available in 55 million U.S. homes.
ELEVEN SPORTS worldwide programming reaches more than 70 million homes in Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Italy, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States.
  
Running Event Capsules:
WOMEN’S SPRINTS:
The women’s sprints could be up for grabs, although Kierra King of Cerritos is the state 100 meter leader at 11.62 and No. 2 in the 200 (24.24). She was third in the SoCal 100, won by state 200 leader Tatyana Pooler (23.70) of Mt. SAC in 11.69. Poole also took the 200 in 24.16. Valexsia Droughn of Ventura was second in both SoCal sprints and she is No. 3 on the season lists for both events (11.75 and 24.37). In the north, Meaghan Rogers of American River won the 100 in 11.90 ahead of Sianna Willis of Sacramento (12.09) but they switched places in the 200.
Mt. SAC swept the top three 400 meter places at the SoCal championships, as that trio also tops the state list:  Lonsha Bradford (55.09), Chelsey Woodson (55.86), and Lenaya Griffin (56.15). NorCal champ Daryia Green of Sacramento ranks fifth at 56.55.
 
WOMEN’S HURDLES:
The two hurdles events appear to be north vs. south match races. Andrea Stark of American River won the NorCal 100 meter hurdles in a state season best 14.04 – by more than a second. She ranks No. 4 nationally. Brittany Mitchell of Mt. SAC won both SoCal hurdles races. She is No. 2 in the state in the 100 hurdles at 14.07 (No. 7 nationally) and tops the state in the 400 hurdles at 59.81 (by nearly four seconds); No. 3 on the national list. Stephanie Fernandez of Santa Rosa was an easy winner in the long hurdles in the north and ranks No. 9 nationally at 1:03.05.
 
WOMEN’S DISTANCE RACES:
The first track final is the women’s 10,000 meters on Friday night. Rebecca Ruiz of Mt. San Antonio is the SoCal champion, with a best of 38:44.24. She, however, ranks third on the state list behind state leader Alexia Thiros of Cuyamaca (38:30.03), No. 3 on the U.S. list, and Stephanie Martinez of Canyons (38:36.86), No. 5 in the country.
Jewel Jasso of Sequoias won both 5K and 10K crowns at the NorCal championships, the latter by over a minute. She comes in fifth ranked in the state at 39:06.56.
Brenda Rosales-Coria of West Los Angeles is SoCal champion and the state leader in both the 5,000 meters (18:02.54) and 1,500 meters (4:42.77). She ranks fifth nationally in the 5K and seventh in the 1,500. Other 5K contenders, in addition to Jasso (18:43.28), include Jennifer Cazares of Glendale (ranked No. 2 in the state at 18:06.41), Ruiz (18:14.25), and Maria Castello of Mt. SAC (18:19.37) – the SoCal runner-up.
 
In the 1,500 meters, Rosales-Coria could be challenged by section runner-up Sara Fleming of Saddleback (4:44.63). They rank No. 7 & 9, respectively, on the national list. Northern champ Elizabeth Sartuche of Sequoias has a best of 4:53.68, while runner-up Kassia Chagnon of Santa Rosa has run 4:56.17.
  
Teulia Gardner of Mt. SAC was the state 800 meter runner-up in 2017. She was second in last week’s SoCal finals in 2:15.21 to Santa Monica freshman Maria Freij (2:14.38), who brings the top time (No. 2 on state list & No. 6 nationally) into the state finals. SoCal third place Kirsten Purcell of Cuesta, 2:15.76, also figures to contend. NorCal champion Kylee Strausser of Fresno (2:17.49) is the NorCal champion. Santa Rosa’s Chagnon (2:17.72) also finished second in the 2-lapper at NorCals and will double back here, along with Sartuche (2:19.07) and Fleming (2:16.29).
 
In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, SoCal champ Mariah Theologidy of Antelope Valley (11:16.56) and runner-up Sarah Hollis of Riverside (11:30.93) pace the state and rank sixth and eighth nationally. Mt. SAC’s Kimberly Solorio (11:44.78) is next in line. NorCal champ Haven Lambrite of American River has a best of 12:01.20. Theologidy finished third in the steeple at the 2017 state meet.
 
WOMEN’S RELAYS:
SoCal champion Mt. San Antonio College has the No. 5 nationally ranked community college teams in both the 4 x 100 meter relay (46.26) and the 4 x 400 meter relay (3:45.49). The Mounties ran those times winning the regionals by huge margins over Riverside – although the Tigers still posted the No. 2 time in the state, 3:53.40, in the 4-lapper. NorCal 4 x 100 champ American River has run 47.18, while Sacramento was the NorCal 4 x 400 winner in 3:58.21 on its home track.
 
MEN’S SPRINTS/HURDLES + RELAYS
Men’s track athlete of the meet Quincy Hall of Sequoias returns to defend his titles in the 400 meters and the 400 meter hurdles, where he leads all U.S. Community College athletes with his respective marks of 44.60 (and early WORLD leading time) and 49.65. He is also the key to both of the Giants NorCal champion relay teams. Riverside Is the national leader in the 4 x 100 relay(39.91) and ranks No. 4 in the 4 x 400 (3:09.01). Mt. San Antonio is No. 5 in the 4 x 100 (40.26) and Sequoias is No. 7 (40.40). Sequoias is No. 8 in the 4x4 (3:11.01). Hall led COS to both relays wins in 2017.
In the 400 meters ,SoCal champ Keylan Dennis of Riverside ranks No. 7 nationally at 46.86.
 
Isahia Hutchins of Sequoias, second in the state in both the 200 meters and 400 meters in 2017, is the other top sprint returnee and won both short sprints last week at the NorCal Championships. He leads the state in the 100 meters at 10.28 and ranks second in the 200 (20.91). SoCal 100 champion Daniel Stokes has scratched from the state meet after apparently being injured in the regional 200 final (where he remains the state leader at 20.69). SoCal 200 champion Antonio Mitchell (best of 20.99), also the south century runner-up (by just .01) should contend in both races. He’ll be accompanied by four of his Tigers teammates in the 200 finale. Roman Johnson of Chabot is another 100 contender at 10.34.
 
In the 400 hurdles, Hall will be chased by SoCal champ Dylan Atencio of Mt. San Antonio (No. 2 in the state at 51.19) and COS teammate/NorCal runner-up Jamal Britt (third ranked at 52.45). Britt is the NorCal 110 meter hurdles champion (14.16). He ranks No. 2 in the state and No. 7 nationally. Jasher Foster of El Camino, third in the 110 hurdles last year while competing for Mt. SAC, won the SoCal title last week in a state season-leading 14.11 (No. 7 nationally).
 
MEN’S DISTANCE RACES:
The 10,000 meters kicks off the men’s running program on Friday night and features national leader Raymond Lopez of Glendale (29:55.04). He was only third in the SoCal finals, however, won by freshman Salvador Capetillo of Mt. SAC (31:02.35 best). Mt. SAC sophomore Manuel Fernandez was the runner-up. Capetillo also won the SoCal 5,000, where he ranks No. 2 nationally at 14:26.94. Fernandez, third in the state 5K last year, expects to contend in both long races. Ricky Esqueda of Hartnell won the NorCal 10K in 32:01.13 over Christian Woolfolk of American River (best of 32:22.78). They traded positions in the 5K, with Woolfolk winning in 15:33.17. He has a best of 14:58.13.
 
Conor Wells of American River, the Northern Calif. 1,500 meter champion, is the state leader at 3:53.44 and ranks No. 3 in the U.S. He should receive plenty of competition from SoCal champ Carson Bix of El Camino (3:54.47 best), runner-up Alec Hall of Riverside (3:54.54), and third place Chris Welland of Mt. SAC (3:54.46). They are 7-8-6, respectively, in the U.S. rankings.
 
SoCal 800 meter champion Alec Hall of Riverside is the state leader at 1:52.05, just ahead of NorCal champ Tyler Gonzalez of Sequoias (1:52.29). Wells plans to come back in the 800, where ranks No. 3 in the state at 1:53.24.
Mt. San Antonio has the state’s top five performers in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, headed by Manuel Fernandez at 9:09.88. But second ranked Anthony Alfaro won the SoCal title (in 9:29.28) by just .04 over Fernandez as part of a 1-5 Mounties sweep for 33 points. Zach Connolly of Chabot won the NorCal title in 9:57.44 but runner-up Dalton Douglas-Hiley of American River is the north season leader at 9:36.72.
 
(Field event capsules to come on Friday) 
 
(Event capsules compiled by Fred Baer for the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Assn.)