College of the Canyons sophomore Ben Campbell, pictured here during the Western State Conference tournament on March 6 at River Ridge Golf Course, is currently tied for first place in the conference standings. Canyons also ranks first as a team, two points ahead of Ventura College. Photo by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information.
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College of the Canyons sophomore Ben Campbell shot a 1-under 71 to finish tied for second, as the Cougars turned in a five-man score of 374 at San Dimas Golf Course on Monday to finish seven strokes back of leader Ventura College.

Ventura (367) finished first, followed by Canyons, host Citrus College (381) in third and Santa Barbara City College (382) in fourth.

The Pirates’ victory halted COC’s streak of back-to-back tourney wins to begin the Western State Conference season. The Cougars also finished first at the WSC event hosted by Bakersfield College at Stockdale Country Club on Feb. 27, as well as last week’s WSC tourney hosted by Ventura at River Ridge Golf Course.

COC remains in the conference’s top spot, however, with a two-point lead over second place Ventura. The Cougars have placed no lower than second at any event this season.

Individually, Campbell is tied with Joey Herrera for the WSC lead with a three-event score of 218.

Campbell, who won the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association individual state championship, has shot par or better in two of the three conference tourneys this season.

Canyons freshman Daniel Taplin was an even par 72 for the Cougars on Monday, to finish in a six-way tie for fourth place. That score also moved Taplin into sole possession of second place in the conference’s individual standings.

COC freshman Alexander Laendin at 75 and sophomore Jaeyeol Kim at 76 represented the next best scores for COC. Those marks ranked 13th and 15th, respectively, in the field of 34.
Canyons will next compete at a neutral site conference tourney to be held Monday, March 20, at El Camino Country Club in Oceanside.

Track and field

COC track and field posted another big day, led by sophomore Jasmine Hall who placed first in the 100h and long jump events to lead the Cougars at last weekend’s Oxy Distance Carnival Spring Break Classic, hosted by Occidental College.

Hall’s pace of 14.73 in the 100h not only bested the field but also represented a season best time. Her leap of 5.56m in the long jump was also tops on the day. Hall also earned a fourth place finish in the 100m at a time of 12.64.

Sophomore Samiyah Hawkins was the other event winner for Canyons, taking first place in the discus with a toss of 37.75m. She followed that up with a seventh place result in the shot put at 10.89m.

Canyons had a number of top-five finishes on the men’s side. Freshman Leo Lambert III took fourth in the 400m at 48.93 and Marcel Sylvester was fourth in the high jump with a measurement of 1.86m. Diontre Harris was a fourth place finisher in the shot put at 13.68m.

The COC men’s relay teams also fared well. The 4x400m team of Delon Buncio, Slade Cavallaro, Blake Beeler and Lambert ran to a fourth place finish with a time of 3:23.05.
Meanwhile, the combination of Buncio, Cavallaro, David Moreno and Lambert took fifth with a result of 43.05.

The Cougars will next compete at the Antelope Valley College Invitational being held Friday, March 17, at Carder Marauder Stadium. Events are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Swim

The COC swim program made its annual trip north to compete at the Cuesta College Invitational held March 10-11, returning from San Luis Obispo with three first place finishes and three new school records.

COC freshman Jessie Kim continued his strong start to the season with a pair of first place finishes in the 100-yard backstroke (54.31) and the 100-yard individual medley (55.17). His time in the individual medley established a new school record, as did his second place pace of 24.03 in the 50-yard butterfly.

Fellow freshman Tyler Tran finished second in the 100-yard individual medley right behind Kim at 55.84. Later, the 400-yard medley relay team of Kim, Tran, Will Karren and Jonathan Gragas placed third at a time of 3:49.25.

COC sophomore Jennifer Yamauchi won the 50-yard backstroke with her pace of 29.95.
Yamauchi also put her name in the COC record books with a new school-best mark of 2:44.70 in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Canyons continues its conference schedule on Friday, March 17, at WSC meet No. 2 hosted by Los Angeles Valley College. Events begin at 11:30 a.m.

Football
The COC football program had 14 players named to the 2016 Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Scholar-Athlete team.

To be eligible for inclusion on the SCFA Scholar-Athlete team players must participate on their respective school’s football team for two seasons, while successfully completing a minimum of 36 units. At least 27 units must be in academic courses (non-PE or collegiate sport activity). Scholar-Athlete team honorees must also achieve a GPA of at least 3.0.

Representing COC on the 2016 SCFA Scholar-Athlete team are: Blake Austin, safety, 3.15 GPA; Tyler Bjorklund, offensive line, 3.17 GPA; Raymond Calles, defensive line, 3.33 GPA; Gabriel Gaitan, offensive line, 3.27 GPA; Zach Gragas, linebacker, 3.68 GPA; Jerel Hall, linebacker, 3.15 GPA; Andrew Karatepeyan, defensive line, 3.09 GPA; Austin McKinney, punter, 3.07 GPA; Matthew Moore, quarterback, 3.05 GPA; Jesus Mota, offensive line, 3.19 GPA; Tobenna Okunna, linebacker, 3.0 GPA; Colton Oshiro, safety, 3.70 GPA; Jacob Sammut, long snapper, 3.07 GPA; Hayden Wright, safety, 3.88 GPA.

Additionally, Austin, Bjorklund and McKinney were each named to the All-SCFA Team for their efforts on the playing field. McKinney also earned 2016 Region III All-California Community College Football Team honors.

“We could not be more proud of our SCFA Scholar-Athlete honorees,” said COC head coach Ted Iacenda. “These young men have dedicated hours of hard work to their studies and understand that the true purpose of College of the Canyons football is for student-athletes to pursue both their academic and athletic goals.”

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