The Saddleback women's track and field team was back in action this past weekend, facing a handful of community college programs as well as a number of NCAA schools and track & field clubs. The Gauchos fared well, finishing second overall after a number of strong performances.
Saddleback was dominant in the middle distance and distance events, which was no surprise given their fifth place finish at the state cross country finals this past fall. The Gauchos cleaned up on the competition, finishing 1-2 in the 800 meters while placing two in the top-5 in each the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters.
Megan Good and Dana McGrath finished 1-2 in the 800 meters and were stride-for-stride for the entire race. Good edged out McGrath by a razor-thin margin, finishing the race in 2:17.94 to McGrath's 2:17.97. The times from Good and McGrath were good enough for 5th and 6th all-time in Saddleback track & field history, and just off the all-time record set by Kathy Grayson in 1990 (2:14.2). Good's finish was just a hair from her personal-best when she finished fifth at the state finals last year in a time of 2:16.42.
The 1,500 meters had three Gauchos vying for top-5 finishes. In the end, Saddleback finished 4-5-6 with Holly Morales, Cayla Porter and Hailey Hunner. Morales finished the distance in 5:17.15 to lead all community college runners.
Saddleback's distance depth was on full display when they finished 3-4 in the 3,000 meters with Kirsten Whieldon and Alexis Park. Whieldon finished in 11:31.23 to finish second among community college runners. Both Whiledon and Park moved into the top-20 in the history of the program for the 3,000 meters with their finishes.
Saddleback also had tremendous efforts in a number of other events, including a handful of top-5 performances in sprints and field events.
Two Gauchos finished in the top-5 in the 200 meters, with Alycia Turner (26.56) finishing fourth and Rylee Kerr (27.01) fifth. The time from Turner ranks 20th all-time in Saddleback history. Kerr also went on to finish fourth in the 400 meters in a time of 1:01.26, which ranks 12th all-time in Saddleback history.
Samantha Chasteler finished in the top-5 in three different field events. She won the hammer throw with a fling of 48.11 meters before finishing second in the shot put (10.79 meters) and third in the discus (28.28 meters). Chasteler's throw in the hammer was good enough for 11th all-time in Saddleback history.
Saddleback will be back in competition on Wednesday and Thursday at the Orange Empire Conference Heptathlon/Decathlon event at Riverside City College, with the distance runners competing at the Occidental College Distance Carnival on Saturday. The next team event will take place at Orange Coast College on Friday, March 15.