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COC notebook: Cougars slip at Super Regional

Softball team eliminated by Riverside; track athletes, men’s golf team headed back to state

Posted: May 14, 2012 9:39 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.

After dropping the opening game of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern Super Regional on Friday, the College of the Canyons softball team knew it would be walking a tightrope the rest of the weekend.

The Cougars won three games to give themselves a chance of escaping the double-elimination tournament.

But on Sunday afternoon, they fell off.

Riverside College put together a three-run sixth inning and held off COC 5-3 to win the Super Regional at College of the Canyons and advance to the CCCAA State Championship tournament next weekend in Bakersfield.

The news was better for the track and field and men’s golf programs this past week. The track and field team qualified a slew of athletes for the state championships at last week’s Southern California Finals, while the men’s golf team won the second Southern California Regional title in program history and advanced to today’s state championship at Santa Maria Country Club.


Canyons entered the Super Regional as the No. 1 seed in Southern California, but it fell to eighth-seeded Southwestern College 10-7 on Friday after a rough first inning.

Needing to win out to stay alive, COC dispatched Saddleback College 9-3 and Southwestern 10-9 in a rematch on Saturday to make it to Sunday.

The Cougars hammered Riverside 8-0 in the first game, handing the Tigers their first loss of the Super Regional, but Riverside won the second and decisive game to eliminate COC.

“I was really happy with our efforts,” said COC head coach John Wissmath. “We were pretty resilient bouncing back after that first loss.”

In the final game, the Cougars went ahead 2-0 early when Shay Romero singled home Amy Droege in the second inning and Kimmie Lockhart singled to score Ruby Herrera in the third.

Riverside tied the game with runs in the third and fifth innings, and in the sixth, two errors contributed to the three runs allowed by COC.

Lockhart hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh to plate Herrera again, but that was all he offense COC could manage in the inning.

Lockhart pitched all six innings and gave up five runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Riverside’s Nichole Zink got the better of Lockhart in the circle, going the distance and giving up three runs on seven hits.

No Cougar had more than one hit in the game.

It was a different story in the first game, when Canyons jumped ahead of Riverside 4-0 after the first inning and never look back. Lockhart singled to score Jenny Wunderlich for COC’s first run, and Droege later drove in two more runs with a single. Caitlyn Zimmerman hit a sacrifice fly to score Lockhart.

COC slugger Adriana Correa hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings to push her season total to 24, which is a new school record. Lockhart gave up just one hit with seven strikeouts as the Cougars enacted the five-inning mercy rule to win.

Wunderlich finished with three hits and two runs, while Droege had two RBIs and Correa scored three times.

COC gave up seven runs in the first inning during Friday’s loss to Southwestern and couldn’t rally, and the Cougars almost fell victim to a rally on Saturday. After starter Alicia Paiz pitched the Cougars past Saddleback, they led 9-4 over Southwestern in the fifth inning before Southwestern tied the score at 9-9 after 5 1/2 innings.

Romero doubled with one out and later came home on a triple by Zimmerman for what proved to be the game-winning run.

Canyons finishes the season at 42-5-1 and returned to the top of the Western State Conference, Blue Division after a one-year absence. The Cougars spent a couple of weeks as the state’s top-ranked team this season.

Wissmath said he hopes the success will attract more attention for the program.

“That’s really what I’m trying to get some of these young athletes to see,” he said. “What we have at this program and what we can offer, they’re going to learn a lot of things at this program and have a great time.”

Droege, Herrera, Paiz and Zimmerman are all sophomores who don’t have eligibility remaining, but the rest of the team figures to be back for another run at state in the spring of 2013.

“I’m proud of my girls,” Wissmath said. “I had a great season with them. They busted their tails and met all of my expectations.”
Track and field

Chris Low repeated as the Southern California champion in the 800-meter race with a time of 1 minute, 50.20 seconds on Saturday at San Diego Mesa College.

Low’s victory qualifies him for next weekend’s CCCAA Track and Field State Championship meet, which will take place at Cerritos College. There, he’ll look to defend his state title in the same event and perhaps break the Santa Clarita Valley record, which is 1:49.06 and was set by Hart High graduate Chuck Kirkby while at Mt. San Antonio College in 1955.

The top four athletes in track events advanced to the state meet from Saturday’s SoCal Championships provided their times met the qualifying standards for state. The top six athletes advanced in the field events under the same circumstances.

The ‘A’ standard in the 800 is 1:55.50.

For the COC men, Daniel Whitham qualified for state in two events. He finished third in the javelin at 55.35 meters, and he wound up fourth in the shot put at 15.45 meters.

The ‘A’ standard marks for the state meet in those events are 53.05 meters in the javelin and 14.41 meters in the shot put.
Joe Babrick is also a state qualifier in the javelin after finishing second with a mark of 56.76 meters.

The COC women had four different athletes qualify for state, including three in multiple events. The 4x100 team of Jacqueline Keeley, Amber Wright, Laurie Henigan and Al’lajae Jasmine finished second with a time of 47.79 seconds. The ‘A’ standard was 49.49 seconds.

Keeley also qualified in the 400 hurdles and heptathlon. She ran the 400 hurdles in 1 minute, 4.08 seconds, well ahead of the 1:05.40 ‘A’ standard, and she scored 4,236 points in the heptathlon, which consists of seven different track and field events.

The ‘A’ standard for points in the heptathlon was 3,409.

Henigan finished fourth in the 100 hurdles in 14.32 seconds, almost a second under the 15.27 standard. Wright, meanwhile, finished third in the 400 in 55.68 seconds, and the ‘A’ standard was 58.21 seconds.

The COC men finished seventh with 33 points as a team at the SoCal Championships, while the women were 11th with 34 points.

The men’s 4x400 team of Low, Corey Gill, Armando Macias and Nick Brooks wound up seventh in 3:15.27, while Colton Berkery finished eighth in the pole vault by clearing 4.25 meters.

Cody Cox also finished eighth in the decathlon with 5,853 points.

Other non-scorers for COC included Whitham in the discus (10th, 42.65 meters) and Landon Cresswell in both the high jump (14th, 1.82 meters) and decathlon (15th, 5,186 points).

The women’s 4x400 team of Keeley, Wright, Jasmine and Maddie Hardesty finished eighth with a time of 3:58.05, while Henigan was seventh in the 100 in 12.27 seconds and Wright finished seventh in the 200 in 25.36 seconds.

Alex Ecsedy also finished seventh in the javelin with a mark of 32.47 meters.

Hardesty was ninth in the 400 hurdles (1:07.59), Courtney Spaulding finished 11th in the pole vault (2.75 meters), Aspen Morrison wound up 17th in the heptathlon (3,446 points) and Rahnesha Williams finished 22nd in the heptathlon (2,455 points).

Men’s golf

The COC men’s golf team hasn’t won a state title since 2008. That could change this afternoon.

Thanks to a group of outstanding individual performances at last week’s CCCAA Southern Regionals, the Cougars will take part in the CCCAA State Championship today at Santa Maria Country Club.

This marked just the second time Canyons had won a Southern California championship, with the other coming in 1989.

COC’s two-round team score of 722 was 2-over par and 12 strokes better than runner-up College of the Desert.

Riley Hayfield’s twin rounds of 71 led to a score of 142, which led Canyons. Aaron West shot a 143 (73-70) over two rounds, Travis Bregman carded a 144 (71-73), Luke Kristo fired a 147 (76-71), Tyler Schwanz shot a 148 (72-76) and Derek Larson added a 150 (76-74).

College of the Desert’s Malcolm Kokocinsky shot a 140 (72-68) to earn medalist honors, though Hayfield and West finished second and third overall individually.

Both teams advanced to the state championship today. Last season, West and former Cougar Alex Macaluso advanced to the state championship as individuals when the team finished fifth at SoCal Regionals.

The Cougar men have won state titles in 1993, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2008.



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