The Saddleback men's track & field team got off to a solid start at the Orange Empire Conference prelims last week in Riverside. Thrower Eric McArthur captured the conference crown in the hammer as the Gauchos sit in second place heading to the finals.
A handful of events were decided last weekend at the preliminaries, with three Gauchos qualifying in the hammer throw. McArthur avenged his second place finish from a year ago by winning the hammer with a toss of 52.77 meters. He has the two longest throws in the state this season after hurling the hammer 55.12 meters at the Prairie War Meet back in March and a toss of 54.88 at the Arnie Robinson Invitational in early April.
Right on his heels was teammate Christian Ydens, who finished second at the OEC Finals with a throw of 51.42 meters. Ydens has the third longest throw in the state this season after a throw of 52.67 meters at the Orange Coast College meet in late March.
In addition to McArthur and Ydens, Matt James also qualified for the Southern California Regional Finals after finishing in sixth place in the hammer. James had a toss of 45.08 meters.
Another that qualified for the SoCal Finals was Nicholas Dorsett after finishing in fourth place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 10:11.83. Dorsett had the 20th fastest time in the state earlier in the season at the Arnie Robinson Invitational.
Nate Bustamante also qualified for the SoCal Finals by finishing sixth in the javelin. Bustamante had a throw of 41.43, which was just an eyelash off his longest throw of the year (41.85).
Saddleback currently sits in second place after a handful of events. The rest of the OEC Finals will take place tomorrow at Riverside City College.