The Ventura College men's and women's track and field teams opened their 2019 seasons Friday at Bakersfield College in the annual Battle of the regions. After a disastrous beginning when two of the three men's 4x100 meter relay teams were disqualified for lane violations, the Pirates rebooted their efforts and 12 individuals and two relays met the minimum qualifying standards for the SoCal Championships on May 3. David Lopez and Cynthia Tuzak were individual Pirate double winners.
Lopez sprinted to runaway victories in the 100 and 200 meters and closed out his day running a leg on the first place men's 4x400m relay joining Jason Mesa, Isaiah Batis, and Darren Houston. Alan Nichols (400 meters) was the other VC men's gold medal finisher.
Tuzak, competing in her first collegiate meet, pulled off a shot put and discus throw double, missing the all-time Pirate discus Top-10 by less than a foot. Lilly Christenson came in first place in the triple jump for the VC women, and was third in the long jump and in the 100 meters.
Other Pirates performing well included: Reuben Jacob who placed second in the men's shot put, Michelle Meugniot was second in the women's 400 meters, Brieanna Tafoya came in second in the 800 meters and third in the 1500 meters, and Olivia Burton finished in runner-up position in both the 1500 and 3000 meters.
The women's 4x400m relay claimed third place while the men's 4x100m relay also won bronze.
"The first meet of the season always gives the staff not only a chance to see where our training is progressing but allows us to see how the young people respond to adversity," commented head coach, Tony Veney.
"After the relay debacle, I wanted to see how the young men would respond to their disappointment, and Lopez, Nichols, and the men's 4x400 stepped up. Nichols, Christenson, and Tuzak also showed they were excited to get the season off to a good start".
The Pirates return to action Friday Feb. 15 as all 12 Western State Conference track programs converge on the West Los Angeles campus for the WSC Relays. Fields events are scheduled for 10:00 am, with the first running event at noon.