TRK: Van Leersum leads SBCC men to WSC title

Bas van Leersum won the 400 meters and 400 hurdles on Friday and SBCC captured the WSC Championship in men’s track and field on its home turf at La Playa Stadium. It’s the first conference title in at least 45 years.

The Vaqueros topped the 10-team field with 138 points, edging Canyons by 10. West L.A. was third at 124.5 and Cuesta took fourth with 110.5.

“It feels good to win the title,” said seventh-year coach Scott Fickerson. “We didn’t even have this on our radar until last week when we took the lead and started scoring things out based on our qualifiers.

“We knew it would be a battle between five teams, there wasn’t really a team that was dominant. We focused on taking care of ourselves and improving on our marks and our seeds. Our goal was to score 100 points today and we got 96 (the Vaqueros scored 42 points in final events at last week’s prelims).”

Olivia Loy captured the 400 and ran a leg on the 4 x 100 relay that broke the SBCC school record in the WSC Women’s Track & Field Championships

Canyons topped the 10-team field with 190 points and Bakersfield was a distant second with 139. The host Vaqueros finished fifth with 76.

Loy ran 57.24 in the 400, tying the third-fastest time in school history. The 4 x 100 unit of Anyel Thomas, Loy, Marla Bonser and Jessica Escalante took second place in 48.40. That broke the 2013 school record by five-tenths of a second.

“When I scored out the meet, I was hoping we’d get fifth place and we did,” said Fickerson. “We had a good meet with two conference champions and a school record in the 4 x 100 relay.

“They definitely fed off the energy of our men going for the title. We had lots of really good marks.”

Van Leersum shaved 0.12 seconds off his school record in the 400 hurdles with a 53.09 clocking. He won the 400 in 48.14, missing the school record by 0.13 seconds. The sophomore from the Netherlands also ran on the 4 x 100 relay, which took second in 41.78, the No. 3 time in SBCC history and the fastest time since 1975. He anchored the 4 x 400 relay to third place and their fastest time of the year (3:19.55).

The throwers had a big day with Marvin Magg winning the shot put in 13.92 meters and the Vaqueros taking three of the top four spots for 21 points. John Morgan was third at 13.22m and Joseph Ochoa took fourth at 13.15. Morgan was second in the discus (43.75m) and Magg was sixth.
Adam Grimmitt got the Vaqueros going with a third-place effort in the 3,000 steeplechase.

Tyler Higby was fourth in the 100 (a PR of 11.01) and 200 and ran on both relays. Alex Heuchert took fifth in both the 1500 and 5000 meters. Bradley Apodaca was seventh in the 5000.

The Vaqueros qualified 20 athletes and both relays for next Saturday’s Southern Cal Prelims at Cerritos College. The Vaqueros had five conference champions in the two-day meet

Jessica Escalante was busy, taking third in the 100, fifth in the 200, seventh in the discus and running on both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. She won the javelin title last week, and this is her first year throwing the discus.

The Vaqueros had 12 qualifiers for next Saturday’s Southern Cal Prelims plus two relays.