In their final tune-up before the Western State Conference Championships, the Pirates' men's and women's track and field teams traveled to the Santa Barbara City College Easter Open on Friday with six athletes turning in gold medal performances. The meet provided the team with one last opportunity to sharpen up before the five-week march to the state championships, and Adan Cruz, Isaiah Batis and Jake Turville looked to be in top form for the Pirate men while Brieanna Tafoya, Cynthia Tuzak and Olivia Burton struck gold for the VC women.
Cruz started the day for Ventura with a come from behind win in the 1500 meters amid blustery wind conditions. Batis, previously ranked outside of the conference top-10 in the 400 meters, jumped into the top-5 with a strong stretch drive into a stiff headwind to win the event. Turville rounded out the Pirate wins on the men's side as he also used the comeback tactic taking control of the 800 meters in the final meters for first place.
The women also had three wins starting with Tafoya's personal record in the 800 meters. Already the No. 2-fastest in school annals, Tafoya moved to No. 3 in the WSC and No. 55 in SoCal. Tuzak continued her win streak as she posted a seasonal best in the discus strengthening her No.1 spot in the conference and No. 2 spot in the South. Burton topped off the winning evening with a wire to wire win in the 5k.
Other Pirates earning silver medal finishes included Tatiana Garcia in the 5k, achieving the SoCal Regional 'B' standard, Leslie Valoaga in the shot put and the women's 4x400 meter relay team of Michelle Hamm, Kiara Estrada, Michelle Meugniot and Tafoya.
The Ventura men received third-place performances from Alan Nichols in the 400 meters, Jaedon Rogers in the long jump, Jacob Guzman in the shot put and Darius Johnson in the discus. Meanwhile, the Pirate women had four bronze medal finishes including Meugniot in the 800 meters, Diana Saldana in the 5k, Lilly Christenson in the long jump and Kimora Pooler in both the shot put and javelin.
"This meet gave the team a chance to improve or solidify their rankings in the conference, commented head coach Tony Veney.
"The preliminary round starts next week back here at Santa Barbara, so it was important for the team to familiarize themselves with the running, jumping and throwing surfaces, and the fact the windy conditions can pose a problem if you're not prepared."
The field events at the WSC Preliminaries begin at 11:00 am on Friday April 19 in Santa Barbara and the first running event is scheduled for noon at La Playa Stadium.