Five Pirate track and field athletes punched their tickets to the CCCAA State Championships with their performances at the Southern California Regional Finals Saturday at San Diego Mesa College. Darrell Handy-Johnson led the pack qualifying in three events while his brother Terrell Handy-Johnson qualified in two. Kamar Wilson rounded out the men's qualifiers. Valexsia Droughn will compete at state in two events for the VC women while Marissa Gonzales also qualified for state for the Pirates.
Darrell H-J started the qualifying by placing sixth in the men's long jump in his first championship final. He would later join his brother Terrell H-J and Wilson in the men's high jump. The Pirates dominated the event with Darrell claiming gold, clearing 6'8" followed by Terrell at the same height in second with Wilson clearing 6'7" in fourth. Darrell's win ended a 20-year goal medal drought in any regional event by a male Pirate. The Handy-Johnson's were actually shuttling between the high jump and the triple jump events, and Terrell and Darrell placed second and third, respectively. Adan Cruz toped off the men's scoring with an eighth place finish in the 5000 meters events.
The Pirate women were lead by Droughn's second-place finishes in both the 100 and 200-meter events, tying her 100-meter school record in the process. Gonzales set a new personal-best in the 5000 meters producing a sixth-place and personal best that put her into the state meet next week. Eden Hahn placed seventh in the 100 meters to remain in contention for the state championships as an alternate while Karen Reyes, who failed to make the 400 hurdle final in 2017, rallied over the last three hurdles for seventh-place and season-best mark of 67.92 seconds. Also running the 5000 meters, Fabiola Gomez-Flores earned the first alternate spot and will wait for the call. The day was topped off as the 4x400 relay team of Sydney Eads, Hahn, Reyes, and Brihana Romero placed sixth 4:02.26, which ranks seventh all-time in the VC record books. The relay will also have to wait and see, standing as the No. 1 alternate.
"Even though we are only sending five young people to the state meet, the quality of what we have can be seen in the team scoring," commented head coach, Tony Veney. "The men scored 41 points placing fourth overall out of 23 scoring teams with four young men, while the women placed seventh with 26 points, out of 25 scoring teams with six young women. You have to go back in the record books over 20 years to find a year when both teams were top 10 finishers at the Regional Finals."
The CCCAA State Championships will be held Friday and Saturday May 18 and 19 in Bakersfield. The field events will commence Friday at 2:30pm, and the first running event starts at 3:45pm.