Records fall as Gaucho track teams score impressive victories

Santiago Cyn 3 (Leif Kemp)

Leif Kemp

Saddleback College’s men’s and women’s track and field teams scored twin victories against the Santiago Canyon College Vikings last Friday. The men’s team rode freshman, Remy Conatser’s third straight record in the hammer throw to defeat the Vikings 86-68, while the women’s team had a much easier time, dispatching the Vikings 114-30.

Winning 15 out of 17 events, the Gaucho women dominated Santiago Canyon on the frigid afternoon, turning in many top ten performances.

Michelle Wicker brought the Gauchos 15 individual points and combined with newcomers Ashley Hatcher, Kaelyn Kaichi and Tia McFarlane on the 4×100 meter relay, the team took first place. Their time of 50.34 seconds was the sixth fastest time in Gaucho history.

Wicker scored wins in the 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, and the high jump. Her time of 15.26 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles is the fourth fastest time ever run at Saddleback. Wicker, who is being groomed for the heptathalon, also threw the javelin for the first time during the meet.

“I need some work on my form, quite honestly, but it was a good experience. I just wanted to give the team some points and learn a new event,” Wicker said. “I need the javelin if I want to compete in the Hep (sic).”

Wicker came away with a second place finish for her effort.

While Wicker was taking the top spots in both hurdle events, Taya Sebring and Christina Perez were completing the hurdle sweep, finishing in the second and third spots respectively.

Other multiple event winner’s for the Saddleback women’s team were Tawnya Turton, and Ashley Hatcher. Hatcher joined the track team last week after the Saddleback women’s basketball team wrapped up their season.

With only a few practices under her belt, Hatcher ran to a third place finish in the 100-meter dash. The athletic freshman secured the seventh best jump in Saddleback track history winning the long jump with a jump of 16-10 1/4. Hatcher hopped, skipped, and jumped her way to another victory in the difficult triple jump event with a leap of 34-11 1/4. It is the tenth best triple jump ever for Saddleback.

Freshman, Tawnya Turton won the shot put with a throw of 34-feet, and came in second in the discus with her best throw of 103-feet. Turton picked up the slack nicely for injured teammate and record-setting hammer thrower, Elizabeth Tepe. With the former Marine Tepe resting an injured back, Turton’s throw of 137- 4 easily won the hammer event.

Turton’s score would have shattered the all-time school record of 122- 7 set in 1996 by Natalie Heer, were it not for Tepe’s record obliterating throw of 155- 4 against Fullerton College a couple weeks prior.

With both the men’s and women’s records being broken week by week, it is apparent that the teams work with throwing coach Sean McZinley is paying off.

Jerylynn Stanwood, another talented Saddleback thrower, won the women’s discus event with a throw of 133- 4, matching the third best discuss throw of all-time.

Conatser, the record setting freshman, has only been throwing the hammer for four months and is already uncorking booming throws. Although he set yet another Saddleback milestone, he wasn’t altogether happy with his effort.

“I know I can do better. I was throwing 60 meters in warm-ups (197-feet), so it’s frustrating not coming out and performing.” Conaster said. “I need to relax a bit more and I still need work on my technique.”

To go along with his victory in the hammer, Conatser outdistanced the competition in the discus with his second heave traveling 144-feet.

“He’s had such a quick rate of success, because he just works so hard, and he’s a physical specimen,” McZinley said. “All of our throwers work extremely hard. These guys and girls are putting in four and five hour days.”

Saddleback’s pole vaulters were equally impressive at the meet. The men’s contingent of Cameron Savage, Peter Klepp, and Matthew Nunaly swept the event, with Savage clearing 16- 4 for the victory. In the women’s event, talented freshman Kelli Gibson continued her winning ways taking the victory with a personal best vault of 10- 11 3/4.

The men’s 100-meter hurdles competition once again proved to be exciting. In what is becoming a friendly but fierce battle between teammates Max Waters and Vince Fusco, the race came down to the wire. Waters held the early lead out of the blocks, and looked well on his way to victory, but his execution faltered when he clipped the sixth hurdle allowing Fusco to finish just ahead at the wire in a time of 15.38 seconds. Waters came in at 15.89 seconds. Completing the hurdles sweep. Saddleback’s Clinton Schooler finished third in a time of 16.36 seconds.

Not to be outdone, Saddleback’s sprint specialist Terry Tanner climbed the all-time charts, as well. Tanner swept the 100-meter, and 200-meter combination. The speedy sophomore’s time of 10.7 seconds was the seventh fastest 100-meters ever run. Tanner’s time of 21.44 seconds in the 200-meters is just .44 seconds off the all-time record of 21.0 seconds set in 1979 by Tony Fuller.

Saddleback will look to break even more all-time marks when they travel to Antelope Valley this Friday March 4 to take on Antelope Valley College, Bakersfield College and College of the Canyons. Meet time is set for 2:00 PM.

Santiago Cyn (Leif Kemp)

Santiago Cyn 2 (Leif Kemp)

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