The opening day of the CCCAA State Track & Field Championships is in the books and the Saddleback men's team finds itself in a tie for second place. The hammer team was the reason why, with three athletes finishing on the podium.
Saddleback has become one of the power programs over the past few years in field events and on Friday exorcised its power at the state finals. Eric McArthur, Luigi Gonzalez and Christian Ydens were all at the top of their game, finishing 2-4-7, respectively, in the hammer throw.
McArthur and Gonzalez saved their best for last, putting up personal-bests in finishing in second and fourth place. Ydens was just 0.22 meters short of a personal-best in finishing seventh.
McArthur entered the event ranked No. 6 in the state with a career-long of 51.89 meters (170'3") at the Orange Empire Conference Championships two weeks back. He completely shattered that mark with a throw of 55.03 meters (180'6") on his fourth throw of the day in Sacramento, which ended up being just 0.43 behind winner Matthew Gallego of Modesto College. McArthur had the lead threw five throws before Gallego overtook him on his final throw of the day. Both of the throws ended up being the two longest throws in the state this season. McArthur also moved into seventh all-time in program history with the throw, passing Mitch Dixon (2014) and A.B. Shaheen (2010).
Gonzalez was another saving his best for last with a personal-best toss of 51.91 meters (170'4") on his sixth and final attempt. It was good enough for fourth place after Gonzalez entered the event ranked No. 7 in the state. He is now No. 10 all-time in Saddleback history in the event.
Ydens entered the event ranked No. 10 in the state and did his damage on his fifth throw of the day. He needed every inch he received, narrowly edging out Yuba College's Marshall McKown by one inch to finish in seventh place. Ydens' toss of 49.66 meters (162'11") was just 0.22 meters off a personal best he set at the OEC Championships and gave the Gauchos two more points on the team score. Ydens is now ranked No. 13 all-time in program history after his performance on Friday.
Saddleback currently sits in a tie for second place with Shasta College entering the final day of competition. The Gauchos will finish the season today at American River College, hoping to pick up a few more points in the shot put and 400-meters.
(1) College of the Sequoias, 16
(t-2) Saddleback, 15
(t-2) Shasta, 15
(4) El Camino, 13
(t-5) Orange Coast, 10
(t-5) Modesto, 10