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La Verne leaves conference rivals in the dust

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Freshman Nick St. Clair placed second in the triple jump against Redlands and Whittier on Saturday with a jump of 13.04 meters. / photo by Cassandra Egan

Christian Orozco
Sports Editor

It was a fruitful weekend for the men’s and women’s track and field teams as they won three of four total competitions at Occidental on Saturday.

The men’s team destroyed Whittier with the score of 107-53, but lost to Redlands, 83-80. The women’s team beat both Whittier, 109-72, and Redlands, 100-63.

Occidental also competed at the event, but did not compete directly against La Verne.

“This was just a great performance for our team,” head coach Pat Widolff said. “We’re all one big team and everyone did their best.”

“A lot of runners stepped in and did races that they’ve never done before,” senior Michael Sacoto said.

Some of the key runners and field event participants were injured and did not compete.

“It is always upsetting having our top athletes not being able to help out, but that the fact that we finished so close to the defending champs (Redlands) shows this team has grown,” senior Marcus Fortugno said.

The women gave an impressive performance in the track events having a runner place first in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 400 meter dash. Sophomore Nicole Crutchfield placed first in the 100 meter dash, junior Maritza Williams placed first in the 200 meter dash and junior Samantha Tucker placed first in the 400 meter dash. They also placed first in the 4×4 100 meter relay with the addition of sophomore Ebony Williams.

Sophomore Katie Yeager took first in the women’s pole vault and her teammate, freshman Taylor Bernard, took second in the same event.

The Leopards also had junior Tyne McClure place first in the women’s long jump and senior Clarissa Holz took second. McClure also took first in the women’s triple jump and freshman Krystal Gutierrez took second.

Junior Losa Akauola showed her strength by taking first in the women’s shot put, second in the women’s discus throw and in the women’s hammer throw.

On the men’s side, senior Michael Anderson took first in the men’s 110 meter hurdles.

Freshman Jabre Million jumped over his competition by taking first in the men’s triple jump and second in the long jump. His teammate, freshman Nick St. Clair, finished second in the triple jump.

Senior Kevin Brousard threw his way into first place in the men’s discus.

Senior Marcus Denerson also showed off his arm strength and took first in the javelin throw

Fortugno highlighted the day while anchoring the men’s 4×4 400 meter relay where he came from behind to catch up to Occidental’s Cole Williams to win the race.

Fortugno and his teammates, Sacoto, Chancise Watkins and Khayree Jones were part of the relay team that took first.

“During the first half of the race, I was focused on beating Redlands,” Fortugno said. “I may have been racing with Oxy, but I focused on schools we were scoring against.”

Fortugno also placed first in men’s 200 meter dash and the men’s 400 meter dash. Watkins was right behind in the 400 meter dash, placing second.

The Leopards will take part in the Cal-Nevada State Championships beginning at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Christian Orozco can be reached at christian.orozco@laverne.edu.

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