The Saddleback track & field season is nearing the home stretch and a number of athletes are leaving their mark. The Gauchos have top-20 scores in the state from 13 different athletes in 12 different events heading into the final meets of the year.
Saddleback has been led by its throws competitors, as many will challenge to win a spot on the podium at the state meet in Bakersfield next month.
Leading the men's team is Eric McArthur, who currently has the top throw in the state in the hammer this spring. McArthur had a toss of 55.12 meters at the Prairie War Meet at Cuyamaca in late March, which is 0.41 meters further than his closest competitor. Not far out of reach is fellow teammate Christian Ydens, who currently ranks third with a throw of 52.67 meters at the meet at Orange Coast College three weeks ago. In addition, Matt James is also ranked No. 12 in the state with a throw of 47.58 meters at the Arnie Robinson Invitational last weekend.
Other top-20 times/scores for the men this spring include Nathaniel Bustamante in both the decathlon (11th, 5430) and pole vault (17th, 4.40 meters), Tommy McWilliams in the high jump (10th, 1.93 meters), Nicholas Dorsett in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (17th, 10:00.49) and Aruba Tucker in the 110-meter hurdles (17th, 15.32).
Leading the way for the women is Anna Gillis, who currently ranks in the top-20 in three separate events. Gillis has the second longest throw in the state in the hammer this season as she heaved the rock 49.59 meters at Orange Coast College last month. Gillis is also ranked No. 3 in the discus after a toss of 42.67 meters at the Prairie War Invitational. She currently has the 16th best throw in the shot put this spring with a fling of 11.32 meters at the Arnie Robinson Invitational last weekend.
Gillis is not alone in the hammer, as both Samantha Perez and Samantha Chasteler rank in the top-20. Perez (46.65 meters) has the sixth longest throw in the state while Chasteler (41.05 meters) ranks 15th.
Saddleback also has a solid contingent in middle distance races with Sara Fleming and Megan Good. Fleming currently ranks No. 3 in the state in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:47.07 at the Prairie War Invitational. She also had the 7th best time in the 800 meters when she crossed the tape in 2:20.06 at the meet at Orange Coast College. Good blazed a personal-best time of 2:18.03 in the 800 meters last weekend at the Arnie Robinson Invitational to move all the way up to No. 5 in the state.
One other women's track & field athlete ranks in the top-20 as Natalie Kron is currently 15th in the state in the javelin after a throw of 30.52 meters at Orange Coast College.
Saddleback track & field will compete next at the Orange Empire Conference prelims and finals at Riverside City College on April 20 and 27.