Spring Recap: Men's Track & Field Wins State Title to Highlight Spring Season

Spring Recap: Men's Track & Field Wins State Title to Highlight Spring Season

Spring action has come to a close highlighted by the men's track and field team winning the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship; the seventh title under the direction of Head Coaches Jim McCarron and Damien Smith. Three of RCC's five conference titles came in the Spring seasons compliments of men's swimming & diving, men's track and field and women's track & field. Football and men's cross country were responsible for the other two. Furthermore, Riverside placed second in the 2019 T. Mark Johnson Supremacy standings and earned the most conference titles in 2018-19.


The Tigers hauled in their first state championship since 2014 by earning a combined 116 points. They were the lone college to score in triple digits by defeating second place Mt. San Antonio by 42 points. Sophomore Antonio Mitchell highlighted the bunch after placing first in the 100 M (10.21), 200 M (21.16) and was a member of the 4 x 100 M Relay (40.17). He was joined by sophomores Jamal Palmer, Jabriel Smith and Keylan Dennis. His efforts earned him Track Athlete of the Meet honors. Sophomore thrower Alec Jones earned the Field Athlete of the Meet after his top finish in the Hammer (54.16m) and a second place showing in the Discus (49.23m). Sophomore Marcos Gonzalez hauled in the gold medal in the Javelin (61.46m). Prior, RCC earned the Southern regional and conference titles by a landslide.


Riverside placed second with a point total of 82.5 which bests their third place finish just one year ago. Highlighting the performances is the 4 x 400 M Relay team that placed first (3:53.83). The team was comprised of freshman LaDaijah Wright, Alana Wilson, Annayah Pelt and Madeline Corner. Individually, Pelt placed second in the 400 M (56.89), while freshman Mariah Allain placed third in the 200 M (25.15). Sophomore Angelique Hudson was crowned the state champion in the Shot Put (13.96) while dominating the field. She landed in first place by over one meter. Freshman Tayler Salley placed third in the Hammer (47.77m). Prior, Riverside reigned supreme in the Southern Regional Championships and the conference championships.


For the first time in 20 years, the Tigers earned the OEC Championships trophy after placing first in every meet this season. Riverside earned 957 points to place ahead of the second-place finishing Golden West by 348 points. They were led by freshman tandem Erick Fathoni and Zach Thelwell. Both of them shared Swimmer of the Meet honors, while Head Coach Jason Northcott was named the Coach of the Year. Fathoni set a new OEC record in the 200 Free (1:38.51) backed by a first place mark in the 200 IM (1:50.11). As a team, RCC continued on to the state tournament and placed fourth overall. They reigned supreme in the 400 Free Relay (3:06.56). Justin Gomez, Sennen Chow, Thelwell and Fathoni were responsible for the victory.


A Cinderella run by the duo of sophomore Natalie Escher and Vashti Elias-Romero highlighted the beach volleyball season. The two reached the CCCAA Individual Championships round of 16 after working through the Southern region as the fifth overall seed. They swept pool play in the initial round of the state tournament. Prior, the duo placed third in the OEC Individual Championships. Both were named to the OEC First-Team All-Conference list. As a team, Riverside fifth with an overall mark of 6-10 and a conference clip of 4-6.


The Tigers had one of their strongest season in recent years by reaching the Super Regional round and tallying the most wins since 2008. Riverside was consistently ranked in the top 10 in multiple coaches and sports information polls. Furthermore, they help the top RPI (strength of schedule) in the state until the final week of the season. They completed their season tied for second in the OEC with an overall record of 32-12 which included a conference mark of 15-6. They swept Cuesta in the opening Southern regional round with back-to-back complete game shutouts from sophomore starters Garrett Irvin and Alexander Salazar before falling to Mt. SAC in the Super Regional round. Irvin was named the OEC Pitcher of the Year to highlight six all-conference award winners.


After a slow start to the campaign, a six-game conference winning streak at the end of the season granted Riverside fourth place in conference and a playoff berth for the second straight year. The Tigers defeated Bakersfield, a common foe for the past two season, in a three game series highlighted by a 13 inning triumph in game one. They went on to the Super Regional round, but were bounced by a Cypress. Sophomore Danielle Lopez was awarded All-American (CA) status after blasting 12 homeruns, driving in 63 RBI, barreling 55 hits leading to a .396 batting average and an .808 slugging percentage.


Riverside experienced one of their stronger seasons in recent history after placing second in the OEC with a record of 17-3 and a conference mark of 8-2. Freshman duo Torrey Mateljan and Maxelle Bernie reached the round of 16 in the CCCAA individual State Championships, while all doubles teams and five singles players qualified and advanced at least one round. Sophomore Heather Graf was recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on a national level, marking the first women's tennis student-athlete in school history to receive a national award. She was name the ITA Most Improved Sophomore amongst all junior colleges across the country.


With a tough conference and regular season schedule, Riverside strung together another impressive season by tying for second place in conference with an overall record of 11-9 and a conference mark of 4-4. The Tigers won three of their final four conference matches leading to the strong finish. Freshman Gleb Mityurin was named the OEC Player of the Year after going 19-3 on the year which included an 11-1 mark in conference matches. Sophomore Miles Clark and Mityurin were named the OEC Doubles Team of the Year as well. Mityurin highlighted the tigers at the CCCAA State Championships by reaching the quarterfinals.


The Tigers were unstoppable in the regular season as they placed first in every regular season and conference meet. They landed in second place in the OEC Championships. Freshman Hannah Beth Cain paced the squad with a team-high 50 points. Cain finished top-five in all three of her events highlighted by a first-place showing in the 200 Back (2:12.20). She finished fourth in the 400 IM (4:59.07) and the 100 Back (1:02.59). Freshman Amelia Bennett earned a pair of silver medals coming in the 500 Free (5:25.17) and the 200 Fly (2:17.82). Freshman Liz Bouffort landed on the podium in one event coming in the 200 Free (2:00.07). Sophomore Calen Loroff earned a second place finish in the 1,650 Free (19:11.83), while freshman Michelle Hiller reeled in the bronze medal in the 100 Free (55.23). Freshman diver Celina Melgoza dominated the one-meter and three-meter dives by earning a pair of gold medals. She began with a 132.75 score in the one meter, backed by a 117.15 score in the three meter. Her efforts earned her 2019 Diver of the Year honors. 


Riverside placed last in a strong conference with an overall record of 8-42. Sophomore Jordan Reynoso paced the Tigers for the majority of the season with an average score of 77.6. He shot a lowly 75 against Cypress College in late February.