Three Stanislaus State Warriors were crowned as conference champions on Friday at the CCAA Track and Field Championships at Chico State.
The Warriors — Lindsay McKee and Eric Bejaran — swept the hammer throw events and Ryan Pust won the men's pole vault title on day two of the meet.
McKee posted the day's first victory by a Warriors on Friday as she won with a throw of 54.97 meters (180 feet, 4 inches). That toss came with her second throw on the day. The 2015 champion made it three in a row in women's hammer throw for Stanislaus State. Krystal Alnas won last year. Junior Breanna Lowther was third with a best throw of 48.98m (160-8 1/4).
In men's hammer, redshirt freshman Eric Bejaran took first with his best throw of 55.96 meters (183-7) — that toss came with his final attempt on the day. Juan Contreras also made the podium in third with a 52.79-meter mark. Peter Hernandez was fourth with a 50.48m.
Pust captured the CCAA championship in men's pole vault — bring home the first winner in the event since 2013. Pust was the winner with a 4.96-meter clearance after a jump-off against Tim Schmidt of UC San Diego.
Other highlights on the day included a fifth place finish by Klayton Miller in the men's javelin (54.96m; 180-3 3/4) and Jayme Stanford tied for fifth in the women's pole vault (3.40m; 11-1 3/4).
In the heptathlon, Victoria Larsen finished first in the javelin throw (38.14m; 125-1 1/2) to finish seventh overall with 4,049 points. Franchesca Shepard finished eighth (3,946 points). Nick Haro was 10th in the decathlon with (3,932 points).
Stan State golf captures third CCAA Championship in four years
This past week, head coach Brandon Christianson had his Warriors going back to the basics at practices. Couple that training and strong mental focus displayed this week, and the Warriors captured the 2017 CCAA Men's Golf Championship on Wednesday.
The Warriors won the CCAA title for the third time in four seasons — this time at the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort, East of Los Angeles.
Stan State defeated Cal State Monterey Bay, 3.5 to 1.5, in medal match play finals to reclaim the conference title. It is also the program's second championship in the last three years under the medal match play format.
Chad Kubes (75) posted the first point for Stan State with a win over Otters' Justin Woo by three strokes (78). He was followed by John Burke's victory (75) over Martin Westerlund (81) up six strokes for a 2-0 lead. After Ash Patel (70) split points with a tie against his opponent Elis Svard (70), Jordan Koelewyn (72) brought home the clincher with an easy 10-stroke win over Edward Hackett (82). Jahaan Nargussi (74) wrapped up the tournament against Matthew Hedges (73), who won by one stroke.
"This week, with as many rounds as we played, it was as hard as it gets," said head coach Christianson. "These guys knew that nothing was going to come easy. They had the confidence from winning before. We came here knowing we had to win in order to get to regionals, so they fought hard all week, fought hard every round all the way throughout. They did a great job."
Stanislaus State also won the 2014 and 2015 CCAA championships. Since the start of the CCAA Championship tournament in 1999, Stanislaus State has now won six banners. The Warriors also finished second seven times and third four times. Since the medal match play format started in 2015, the Warriors have won two of the last three conference tournaments.
Nargussi, now a senior, has been part of the last three CCAA title runs beginning with the 2015 tournament when he was named CCAA Freshman of the Year.
As the CCAA champion, Stanislaus State receives the automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament, May 8-10, at Brookside Country Club in Stockton. For Christianson, this is his first team title as a head coach and he will be making his first appearance at the NCAA tournament. Last year, Koelewyn and Nargussi qualified as individual entries for Regionals.
The Warriors had their ups and downs during the regular season, ending with a 10th place finish at their own Stanislaus Hanny Invitational on home course two weeks ago. Christianson decided the team could go back to some basic work, particular with the short game. So, they worked on that this past week.
During the CCAA tournament stroke play on Monday — and even the semifinal round of the medal match play — the Warriors managed to stay calm and played their game instead of worrying about the challenging course layout, long distances between holes and the possibility of having play past sunset.
In the end, the experienced Warriors edges Cal State East Bay in the semifinals (they lost to the Pioneers a year ago in the championship match in Napa), 3-2, and led from the start against Cal State Monterey Bay in Wednesday's final round.