Track and field teams show their strengths

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College track-and-field teams will be tested as they compete Saturday against Mt. San Antonio, one of the top four community college teams in the state, and Fresno State, which is a four-year perennial powerhouse in track and field.

“This will be a great opportunity and good practice against tough competition,” said Bob Covey, men’s track and field coach, about the competition set at Fresno State Saturday. “We are a good team even though we are smaller than last year. We will be competitive especially in the track events and we should have a strong showing at the state meet.”

The ‘Gades established themselves as a force to be reckoned with at the Northridge Invitational track meet, as the ‘Gades took on the University of Wisconsin, University of California at Los Angeles and University of Southern California and posted top-notch marks in several events.

Gemayal Alexander captured a first-place finish in the long jump, while teammates Michael Carter, Jerome Miller, Nick Cramer and Mike Mitchell stepped up, showing overall team strength in men’s track at the March 22 event.

“We’ve been without Jason Lopes, who is the conference champion in the 100 and 200-meters, because of a hamstring. He is gradually getting better and will be a great asset. He’s a good leader and a fine sprinter.”

Lopes said he is anxious to get back.

“We are faster than we were last year,” he said.

“This is a great group of guys and our chances are real good for a championship. Jerome Miller has the fastest time in the 400-meters in the state, Gemayal Alexander is first in long jump and Filip Walotka is No.1 in the state in the 400-meters. He had a time of 46.78 seconds at Northridge, the fastest time in the state.”

Miller placed second in the intermediate hurdles with a time of 53.59 and third in the high hurdles, while Carter placed eighth in the 400-hurdles with a personal best of 56.09.

Cramer finished fifth in the 1,500- meters at 401.97 and captured first place in the 800-meters with a time of 1 minute, 55.4 seconds.

For the Renegade women, Grimes produced a season best performance as she captured the top community college division winner, winning the 3,000-meters as well as the 500- meters.

She placed first in the 1,500 meters with a time of 10:15.

The women also did well at the recent 32nd annual Bakersfield College Relays, which had some impressive statewide competition.

Megan Clutter earned two first-place medals and was chosen most outstanding female athlete. Clutter tossed the javelin a state best of 129 feet, 9 inches. She also landed a 146-0 mark in the hammer throw for a personal best.

Kathy Porter was right behind Clutter as she tossed the hammer 141-6 and Vanisha Chann took fifth with a 124-6.

In the discus, Shelley Rice nailed a fourth-place finish at 123-7, while Clutter once again placed with a 122-0 toss.

Rice, who just finished up the basketball season, said she is beginning to feel comfortable with the discus.

“I am picking it up a lot better,” she said. “As a team we are doing very well. The girls are so nice and we get along great. We definitely have a shot for the state title.”

That was evident as the women were also dynamic on the track. Miesha Thomason dusted the competition with a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at 16.17.

The 4×100 relay team took a fourth-place finish with a 53.21 time.

The men showed their speed as hurdler Jerome Miller claimed most outstanding track athlete, finishing first in the 110-hurdles at 14.30 and won the 400-hurdles at 53.81.

Teammate Filip Waloka won the 400 at 47.04 and Nick Cramer picked up medals in the 800 and the 1,500.

Bradley Cordova took a second-place finish in the pole vault with a mark of 13-0 and Alexander took a second-place finish with a jump in the long jump of 22-1 3/4.

In the men’s field events, J.P. Frugughetti, who is ranked second in the state in the hammer throw, won the event with a 177-6 toss and took fifth place in the discus, 138-11.

Covey said that the meet in Fresno on Saturday is a step up for the ‘Gades. The field events begin at 10:40 a.m. and the track events begin at 1 p.m.