Track and Field Preview
2018 Team Preview
Men’s Track and Field- The “Big Cats” have assembled one of their most talented and balanced teams in years. The Cougars are not blessed with great depth, but they do have talent in nearly every event. Cuesta’s Pole Vault program is legendary with four State Champions and more than a dozen State Qualifiers coming out of the program. This year 2017 Regional Qualifier Mike Escobar has returned and is already past his freshman mark. He is one of the favorites to take the title this year, however teammate Jimmy Escobar should push him all the way. Sophomore Cian Fernandez and Freshman Noah Carella should be in the mix for State too. The Cougars are also traditionally strong in the Distance events and this year is no exception. The Cougars have lots of depth here too, however they are really counting on Freshman Garrett Morgan and Sophomore Kobi Kelly to run deep into the championship events. Morgan will specialize in the 800 and 1500-meter runs, while Kelly, the Cougars’ Cross Country MVP, will extend into the 5K and 10K. Sprinter Robert Fast is back on the track and the aptly named speedster will handle all the sprints, although his best event should be the 400m and he should advance to compete post-conference. Over the past decade or so, the Cougars’ Throwing program has developed into a strength of the team. Cuesta Record Holder Evan Stork has already broken his own 2017 Cuesta Hammer Record three times and is the top thrower in the State. He is poised to be the first Cuesta Thrower to win a CCCAA State title. According to Coach Brian Locher, Freshman Thrower Jacob Franklin is the “Real Deal”. He has the potential to win or at least challenge for a CCCAA State title in the javelin, discus, or shot put. Sophomore Luke Nickelson is the Cougars’ jump specialist and he definitely special. He has already surpassed broken the Cougars’ Long Jump and Triple Jump records and should while also taking a run at the Cuesta high jump standard.
Women’s Track & Field- Cuesta’s women team has some heavy hitters, but lacks depth and breadth this season. The squad is led by 2017 CCCAA State Qualifier Roxanne Nolan, who has already cleared 12’ this season, a full half-foot over her 2017 CCCAA State-best mark. She is a clear favorite to return to the CCCAA State Meet and, this year, bring back a title. Cuesta has qualified 27 women’s vaulters and won five CCCAA Titles since it became a women’s event in 1999. Nolan should be joined by fellow Macy Rivas-Clark, who is a dual State Meet threat with her vaulting and ability in the Hammer. Former Cuesta Volleyball and Basketball player Hannah Katches has proven to be a natural talent in the throwing events and the former Spiker and Cager is already considered a State Meet hopeful. She is specializing in the Javelin and Shot Put and should reach the post-conference meets in both, however she could also surprise in the Discus. The Cougars lack of overall depth has allowed some athletes to expand into other events and the team has a small group of multi-event athletes that could move into the Heptathlon. Sophomore Hurdler Gwen Lundy is back and healthy this season. She is an accomplished hurdler and has been working on her throws. She skipped basketball this season to concentrate on track and it appears to be paying off. Freshmen Madison Mitchell and Abby Richey are also projected to be Heptathletes, however they both have struggled with nagging early season injuries. When they are healthy the trio shall make the small squad deep and talented in multiple events. On the track, Sophomore Kirsten Purcell and Freshman Hannah Wiese should shine in the mid-distance events, while Freshman Tiana Arata handles the sprints. As usual, the Cougars do have depth in the distance events and the pack will be led by Cross Country MVP Samantha Duston, who will specialize in the 1500-meter run.
State Titles for Cheek & Daschian
SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 22, 2017)- Last Week: Cuesta Track and Field qualified four athletes to the 2017 CCCAA State Track & Field Championships in Sacramento and the small contingent brought home a pair of state titles and overall finishes of 20th and 17th place for the men and women, respectively. The meet was full of ups and downs for the Cougars, who entered the meet with the hopes of winning several events, however the meet did cap a sensational season for Cuesta Athletics. Track’s two titles upped Cuesta’s 2016-17 total to a school record six individual titles.
Women: 2017 Cuesta College Athlete of the Year Miranda Daschian (Atascadero HS) completed her perfect season with a CCCAA State Title in the 5,000-meter run. Daschian cruised to victory in 17:33.18 to win the title by eight seconds. Her winning time was 43 seconds off her own Cuesta record, but she was so dominant that she was only competing against herself. Daschian did not lose a race this year during cross country or track season, where she competed in every distance from 800 to 10,000-meters and set new school records in the 3,000, 5,000 and, 10,000-meter races. Daschian also qualified for the CCCAA State Meet in the 1,500 and 10,000-meter runs, but scratched them in favor of the 5,000m. 2017 WSC Champion Pole Vaulter Roxanne Nolan (Morro Bay HS) joined Daschian at the CCCAA State Meet, but did not clear a height during the competition. Nolan entered the meet with season-best jump of 11’ 3.75” and opened the competition at 10’ 7”, which she did not clear. Cuesta has won nine CCCAA State pole vault titles, however this marks the third time a vaulter has “no-heighted” at the state meet; including Cuesta men’s record holder Chase Shealy in 2004. Cuesta has won more women’s pole vault titles (5) than any other college and the program’s nine combined titles rank only behind powerhouse Mt San Antonio.
Men: Decathlete Aaron Cheek (Fresno) broke his own Cuesta record to win the 2017 CCCAA State Decathlon title and claim the honor of being the “Best Athlete in the State”! Cheek, who finished 5th in 2016, started slowly, but closed strong on the first day with season best marks in the high jump (5’ 9.25”) and 400-meters (:51.41). He began the second day in third place, but was set up with his two best events, the 110-hurdles and javelin, on the docket (Cheek also qualified for the javelin as an individual event, but scratched). He opened with 3rd place in the 110 Hurdles and caught a break when the overall leader failed to score in the Discus, while Cheek again took 3rd. He seized the opportunity and took the lead for good in the pole vault with a career-best leap of 12’ 3.5”. Cheek closed out his title by winning the javelin and slamming the door on the competition with a six-second win and a career-best time of 4:40.31 in the 1,500-meter run. Cheek’s winning total of 6,329 points also broke his own school record and earned Cuesta Men’s Track & Field its fifth individual CCCAA title and first non-pole vault crown. 2017 Cuesta Male Athlete of the Year Sean McDermott (Kings Beach) joined Cheek as they both qualified for their second CCCAA State Meet. McDermott entered the competition as the man to beat in both the 5,000-meters and the Steeplechase. He was, at least, a dozen seconds better than anyone in the State in the 5,000-meters and only one runner was within that margin in the Steeplechase. Unfortunately, McDermott, who won a CCCAA State Cross Country title in the Fall, was unable to nab another state title last weekend. He finished a disappointing, but still scoring, 8th place in the Steeplechase (9:50.46) and was 38 seconds off his Cuesta record time, which would have won him a title. In the 5,000-meter run, McDermott finished 12th and was nearly two minutes off his season best time.
This Week: The 2017 Track & Field season is over, except the post-season coaches’ meetings. The Western State Conference coaches will meet this week to determine and distribute the loop’s track and field athletes of the year awards, plus the coach of the year for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Notes- Below is a list of Cuesta’s CCCAA State Final Results
1st Place- Aaron Cheek (Decathlon)- 6,329 pts
8th Place- Sean McDermott (Steeplechase)- 9:50.46
12th Place- Sean McDermott (5,000m)- 16:22.52
Scratched- Aaron Cheek (Javelin)
1st Place- Miranda Daschian (5,000m)- 17:33.18
No Score- Roxanne Nolan (Pole Vault)- No Height
Scratched- Miranda Daschian (1500m)
Scratched- Miranda Daschian (10,000m)
Below is a list of Cuesta’s all-conference performances.
First Place- Men: Sean McDermott (Steeplechase), Michael Escobar (Pole Vault), Aaron Cheek (Javelin), Evan Stork (Hammer); Women: Miranda Daschian (1500m, 10K), Roxanne Nolan (Pole Vault).
Second Place- Men: Aaron Cheek (Decathlon, 110 Hurdles), Sean McDermott (10K), Cian Fernandez (Pole Vault); Women: Krista Triguero (Pole Vault)
Third Place- Men: Cristian Rojas (Hammer); Women: Zoe Hignel (Pole Vault).
Fourth Place- Men: None; Women: None
Fifth Place- Men: None; Women: Macy Rivas (Pole Vault)
Cuesta College Athletic Programs are funded through a combined effort of the College District, Associated Students of Cuesta College, and The Athletic Booster Club.