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Strong outlook for COC sports

Posted: November 4, 2013 10:08 p.m.
Updated: November 4, 2013 10:08 p.m.

Budget cuts and limited resources aside, College of the Canyons is still figuring out how to be successful across the board in athletics.

All seven of the school’s fall sports are at least in the postseason hunt — many of them shoe-ins. And a lot of those same teams are making regular appearances on state and national rankings.

“Our fall sports programs are at an all time right now. It’s going pretty good,” said COC athletic director Chuck Lyon during a gathering of coaches, athletes and school officials on Monday at COC’s West PE building.

COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook kicked off the event, which featured brief speeches by Lyon and the head coaches of nearly all the fall sports in addition to both the men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

Each coach reviewed the state of their program.

Women’s soccer head coach Justin Lundin, for example, talked about his team being ranked seventh in the state and going for a third straight Western State Conference, South Division title.

He singled out forward Stacey Atwater, who was also in attendance on Monday. Her 19 goals this season is four short of a single-season school record.

Meanwhile, COC football is 7-1 and off to its best start since 2008 under first-year interim head coach Ted Iacenda.

The coach praised the efforts of his team, particularly players like sophomore running back Matt Bowen, who also spoke briefly at the event Monday.

Bowen leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns this season.

Another standout team on campus has been women’s volleyball, which is 16-3, tied for first place in the WSC and ranked 23rd in the state.

“I really think we’re going to win our first conference title in a long time,” said 17th year volleyball head coach Lisa Hooper, whose team last won a WSC championship in 2000.

And then there are the men’s and women’s cross country teams, which are both already headed to the postseason.

After the men won their first WSC title since 2007 last week and the women took third in conference, both teams will compete at the Southern California Championship this Friday at Central Park.

“My saying is always, ‘Our sport is your sport’s punishment,’” said 19th-year cross country head coach Lindie Kane. “We run a lot.”

Though women’s golf head coach Gary Peterson was unable to attend because his team was competing at the WSC Championship in Solvang, the team is once again on pace to compete for a state title. That’s a regular occurrence for the program.

The men’s soccer team and 11th-year head coach Phil Marcellin also spoke on Monday.

The team is 6-7-4 and a long shot to make the playoffs, but Marcellin said Valencia graduate Renato Sanchez is playing well and “could be the program’s first (NCAA) Division I signee.”

While the fall sports are gearing up for postseason, the beginning of men’s and women’s basketball seasons are also around the corner.

Men’s head coach Howard Fisher was candid about his concerns for this year’s team that includes zero returning starters from last year’s WSC South championship squad.

He expressed optimism in a number of international players on campus though.

Women’s hoops head coach Greg Herrick talked about similar issues relating to a lack of experienced talent this year.

He referred to this team as a “project” and “not as good as they’ve been.”

Both basketball teams begin the season on Friday.


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