The Ventura College men's track and field team sits in second place, one-half point out of first, and the VC women are in fifth, just six points from the top spot, following the Western State Conference Preliminaries held Friday at Santa Monica College. The men's team qualified 15 athletes for the WSC Finals ,and the women advanced 11 to the championship meet that will be held Friday April 27 at the Ventura College Sportsplex.
Jordan Gibson and David Lopez lead the men's sprint group with Gibson advancing in both the 100 and 200 meters and Lopez in the 100. Max Carmona was the lone first-place qualifier for the day cruising to the top time in the 800 meters. Dillon Chong in the 400 hurdles and Alex Ambriz in the 1500 meters were the only other Pirates to advance on the track.
The VC men made their presence felt in the field and in the one track final. Darrell Handy-Johnson, with a big personal best in the long jump, placed third and lost a count back to eventual high jump champions and brother Terrell Handy-Johnson. Kamar Wilson's fourth place in the high jump allowed that event to account for over half of the team's first-day scores. Daniel Alejandre battled back from fall knee surgery and a low conference ranking to score a fine third place finish in the men's discus. The scoring was topped off by Adan Cruz's second place finish in his track 10k debut.
Valexsia Droughn and Eden Hahn lead the women's sprint group as they both qualified for the 100 and 200-meter finals. Fabiola Gomez-Flores (800m), Marissa Gonzales (1500m), Sandra Harness (100m hurdles), Andrea Rios (100m hurdles), and Karen Reyes (400m hurdles) also ran their way into the finals of their respective events.
There were several field events and one race on the track that were contested as finals. Harness placed third in the high jump, Serenity Valoaga finished third in the discus, and Krystal Tapia was sixth in the discus, while on the track, Macy Schmidt ran fourth in the 10k coming in as an unranked competitor.
In 2017, the men's team scored a total of 44 points after the WSC Finals, but this year's squad hit 41.5 points Friday, behind Bakersfield College's 42 with one more day remaining of competition. The men will also advance 15 Pirates to the finals giving hope for at least a top-3 finish.
The women's team scored 23 points on Friday. Although they are currently in fifth place, the sit just six points behind meet-leading Santa Barbara. There will be 11 Pirate women competing in the WSC finals on Friday.
The top-6 finishers in each final event will advance to the SoCal Regional first round Saturday May 5 at San Diego Mesa College.
"Championships are decided by how well a team manages the pressures of high expectations," commented head coach Tony Veney. "I predicted we would score 39 points on the men side and 25 on the women's. We hit 41.5 and 23 respectively, so this team is delivering right on point. Now we have to finish the deal next Friday at home."
Field events for the WSC Finals begin at noon, while the first track race of the day goes off at 12:30 pm at the VC Sportsplex.