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Leopards get the jump on competing schools

Sophomore Katie Yeager clears the 3.35 meter bar at the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers track meet Saturday. Yeager’s leap took her to victory with a first place finish for women’s pole vault, beating five competing schools for the gold. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Danielle Navarro
Staff Writer

The Leopards arrived at Strehle Track Saturday morning with their energy and spirits high and acquired four event wins at Pomona-Pitzer’s All-Corners meet Saturday.

The men and women’s track and field team both gave standout performances.

“We worked hard in the off-season, so I think it’s really showing today,” sophomore pole-vaulter Katie Yeager said. “It’s our first meet as a team this year, so I think it’s a good start for the season.”

The Leopards competed against students from 13 other colleges.

“I was pretty surprised and excited about how well our team did,” senior sprinter Marcus Fortugno said. “A lot of freshmen and sophomores really stepped up and did a great job. It helped me gain more confidence in our team.”

A three-time All-American athlete, and now starting his last year on the team.

Fortugno finished in second place with a time of 10.86 in the 100-meter dash, and also in second for the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.81.

“I was pretty happy with how I did. My time in this meet was a bit faster than last year’s,” Fortugno said.

Sophomore Chancise Watkins and junior Paul Turner also finished the men’s sprints with impressive times.

Watkins clocked in at 11.04 in the 100-meter dash, and 22.09 in the 200-meter dash, while Turner finished the 200-meter with a time of 22.06.

As for the women, Yeager tied for first place in pole-vaulting with a height of 10-11.75, securing one of the four wins for the Leopards.

“I wanted to break 12 feet, but that didn’t happen,” Yeager said. “I fixed a lot of technical stuff though, so I’m pretty happy about that. Overall, I’m happy with how I did.”

The 100-meter dash was won by sophomore Nicole Crutch­field with a time of 12.56 and junior Kendall Kraiss received first place in javelin with a throw of 115-5.

Freshman Christiana Coughlin also came in second in javelin with an impressive throw of 111-4.

Sophomore distance runners Alysse Thummel, Shelby Sato, Yanet Urciaga and freshman Nancy Andrade won the 4 x 400 meter relay with a time of 4:24.38.

Crutchfield, who helped the Leopards win first place in the 4 x 100 meter relay at last year’s Southern California Intercolleg­iate Athletic Conference Championships, dominated the women’s 100-meter dash with a time of 12.56.

“I feel like it was a good way to start off the season,” Crutchfield said. “I think my performance overall was really good.”

After starting off the season with such a bang, the team is sure to see success in the rest of the meets that are scheduled in the next couple of months.

“I think the team did a really good job,” Crutchfield said. “We all put out our best efforts and we give 100 percent no matter who we’re competing against. We always work hard and strive for the best.”

The track and field team’s next meet will be at the Rossi Relays at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday.

Danielle Navarro can be reached at danielle.navarro@laverne.edu.

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