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COC Insider: Cougars track and field athletes win titles

23 qualify for conference finals; Softball keeps rolling

Posted: April 22, 2016 10:24 p.m.
Updated: April 22, 2016 10:24 p.m.
College of the Canyons freshman Dana Bowers claimed a Western State Conference championship in the javelin with a throw of 33.61 meters on Friday, while also qualifying for the CCCAA SoCal Championships in three events. Photo by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information Office College of the Canyons freshman Dana Bowers claimed a Western State Conference championship in the javelin with a throw of 33.61 meters on Friday, while also qualifying for the CCCAA SoCal Championships in three events. Photo by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information Office
College of the Canyons freshman Dana Bowers claimed a Western State Conference championship in the javelin with a throw of 33.61 meters on Friday, while also qualifying for the CCCAA SoCal Championships in three events. Photo by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information Office
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The College of the Canyons track and field program hosted the Western State Conference prelims on Friday, with the Cougars men’s and women’s teams able to take advantage of the familiar surroundings.

Canyons men and women combined to qualify for next week’s WSC Finals in 23 individual spots, while claiming conference championships in three events. The Cougars also qualified for the California Community College Athletic Association SoCal Championships in seven events.

COC freshman Dana Bowers set the tone for the day in the first event by claiming a WSC title in the women’s javelin, with a throw of 33.61 meters. That mark was more than five meters better than the next closet competitor.

Not done yet, Bowers also finished second in the shot put at 11.11m and fourth in the high jump with a leap of 1.55m. She will now move on to compete at the SoCal Championships in all three events.

Also claiming a WSC title was sophomore Marissa Kneisel, who finished first in the long jump at 5.37m.

Kneisel, who has already left her name in the COC record books as the women’s soccer program’s all-time leading scorer, went on to place third in the high jump at 1.55m. She also placed ninth in the 100m with a time of 13.05 seconds and, like Bowers, will also be moving on to the regional championships.

Kaitlyn Matthews was the third WSC champion to emerge for the Cougars on Friday, as she took first in the high jump at 1.60m — also advancing to regionals.

On the men’s side, Jason Hillquist finished second in the 10,000, with a time of 32 minutes, 4.23 seconds, and Joel Estrada placed second in the 800 (1:56.58).

Robert Brennan took second in the 200m (22.55) and 400m (48.60) to also advance to the WSC Finals. Jonathan Choi (11.14) and James Berkley (11.25) placed second and third, respectively, in the 100 to also advance.

The 2016 WSC Finals will be held Friday, April 29, at Bakersfield College.

COC softball claims conference crown

The No. 7 regionally ranked COC softball team clinched the 2016 Western State Conference, Blue Division title after sweeping a doubleheader from Santa Monica on Tuesday.

The conference title is the program’s 13th overall and sixth under head coach John Wissmath. Canyons previously won back-to-back-to-back WSC titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Cougars, who are also ranked No. 13 in the state, made short work of the visiting Corsairs, with a 9-1 victory in the first game and an 18-4 thumping in the second outing. Both games were called after five innings.

Canyons (27-9 overall, 17-2 in conference) went on to win two more on the week, with the Cougars also sweeping a road doubleheader from Glendale College on Thursday. COC defeated the Vaqueros 9-1 in the first game and 16-2 in the second contest. Once again, both games were called after five innings.

COC sophomore pitcher Ashley Russo has now won 17 of her last 18 starts, including four this week, to improve to 22-6 on the year.

The Cougars will now host No. 3 regionally ranked Palomar College for a doubleheader on Saturday. The Comets are also the No. 6 ranked team in the state.

Canyons will conclude the regular season on Tuesday, with a home doubleheader versus Los Angeles Valley College. The first round of the California Community College Athletic Association SoCal Regional Playoffs will be held May 7-8. Playoff seedings and matchups will be announced on April 30.

Monica Friedl Commits to San Marcos

COC women’s basketball player Monica Friedl will continue her collegiate playing career as a Cougar, after committing to attend California State University, San Marcos in the fall.

Friedl is a two-time All-WSC First Team selection. During the 2015-16 campaign, the sophomore led the Cougars in scoring with 18.9 points per game, ranking second in the WSC, South. Friedl’s 12 rebounds per game also ranked second in the conference and ninth in the state.

The Canyon High product posted 10 or more points in all but one outing and recorded double-digit rebounding totals in 20 games.

“Monica Friedl has epitomized what it means to be a COC women’s basketball player,” said COC head coach Greg Herrick. “She is a consummate teammate, hard worker, always looking to make her team better, consistent and productive. Finishing her Cougar career at No. 8 on the all-time career scoring list and being named a two-time All-Western State Conference First Team selection were just two of the indicators that Monica left her imprint on our program.”

Cal State San Marcos is an NCAA Division II program. The Cougars are members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

COC men’s golf

The COC men’s golf team was in top form once again on Monday, as the Cougars turned in a five-man score of 376 to place first in the eight-team field at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta.

Canyons was able to hold off second place Santa Barbara City College (389) and third place Ventura College (397).
By winning the neutral site tournament, COC has now won five straight tournaments. The Cougars have won eight of nine WSC events this season to sit in first place.

Individually, three Cougars rank within the conference’s top five, with freshman Will Barnett currently seven strokes ahead of the second ranked player. Freshman Matt Cheng and Jaeyeol Kim rank third and fourth, respectively.

On Monday, Kim was the top finisher for Canyons with a score of 70. Barnett ranked second for COC with a score of 74, and Jason McGuinnes was third at 76.

COC will next compete at the WSC Finals being held at Rio Bravo Country Club in Bakersfield on April 25.

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