The Saddleback women's track & field team finished in third place at the Orange Empire Conference Finals on Friday in Riverside. The Gauchos had 14 qualifying scores for the SoCal Finals and showed dominance in the hammer throw.
Saddleback was a force in the throws events, with a large percentage of the team points coming in the hammer throw. Anna Gillis, Samantha Perez and Samantha Chasteler finished 1-2-5 in the hammer throw to capture 22 of the teams 87 points in one event. Gillis won the event with a personal-best toss of 51.03 meters on her final throw of the day. It ended up being the longest throw in the state this season and sets her up as one of the favorites heading into the Southern California Finals. In addition, the throw elevated Gillis to eighth all-time in program history. Samantha Perez finished second when she had a personal-best throw of 46.82 on her third toss of the day. The throw by Perez was the eighth longest throw in the state this season. Chasteler finished fifth when she had a personal-best throw of 43.02 on her fourth throw of the day.
Another having a sensational meet was middle distance runner Sara Fleming. The sophomore from Mission Viejo High School took home first place finishes in both the 800 meters and 1,500 meters to collect 20 points for the team. Fleming had a personal-best in the 800 meters when she crossed the finish line in 2:16.60. It was the fourth fastest time by any runner in the state this season and ranks second, all-time, in Saddleback history. Fleming also has the third fastest time in the state in the 1,500 meters (4:47.07, Prairie War) and finished first on Friday in a time of 4:53.70. Right on her heels in the 800 meters was Megan Good, who finished third on Friday in a time of 2:20.43. Good had the eighth fastest time this season at the Arnie Robinson Invitational (2:18.03).
Natalie Kron qualified for the SoCal Finals in three different events on Friday. Kron was a third place finisher in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 18.06. She also finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:17.83 and was fifth in the javelin with a throw of 24.70 meters.
Gillis also qualified for the SoCal Finals in the discus and shot put on Friday. She opened with a throw of 38.21 meters on her first fling for a second place finish in the discus. She also had a heave of 11.01 meters in the shit put for a sixth place finish. Joining Gillis as qualifiers in the discus were both Perez (30.08) and Chasteler (29.58), who finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Holly Allen was another to qualify for the SoCal Finals after a vault of 2.89 meters on Friday. Allen finished in fourth place in the pole vault on her second-to-last attempt.
Saddleback will compete again in the Southern California Regional Prelims on Saturday at San Diego Mesa College.