By Mason Nesbitt
For The Signal
TMU freshman Seanna Nalbandyan was shocked when she noticed Westmont College’s Emily Parks in her periphery as the runners reached the final barrier in the 400-meter hurdles last week.
“I didn’t hear her coming up through the race,” said Nalbandyan, a Canyon High graduate. “When I saw her, it kind of shocked me. But I was like, ‘I worked too hard this season to get second.'”
Nalbandyan finished in 1 minute, 1.74 seconds —.08 ahead of Parks and just short of the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship meet record.
The Mustangs won a total of six GSAC titles at Westmont College on Thursday and Friday last week.
In the 4×800 relay, both TMU’s men (Kevin Pacheco, Tim Gutierrez, Stephen Pacheco and Cameron Fooks) and women (Kayla Gray, West Ranch product Rylee Bishop, Emily Bodine and Hart grad Mikala Fairchild) took first place Thursday night.
For the men, it was the first time ever winning in that particular relay.
Nalbandyan’s title was followed by Saugus High product Abigail Frankian’s first-place finish in the 5,000. TMU junior Stephen Pacheco took home the 5K prize, too, on the men’s side.
Justin Harris won the 3,000 steeplechase, outlasting teammate Alec Franco, who was the defending champion in the event.
Master’s secured 24 all-conference honors (top three finishes) in all, the most in program history.
The days weren’t without sentimental value either. Like the image on Friday of Harris and Franco sprinting back and forth across the track’s infield, cheering Frankian and teammate Rachelle Nelson on at every turn.
Frankian and Nelson pulled away near the midway point of the race and finished one-two in decisive fashion.
Frankian, Stephen Pacheco and Nalbandyan have already qualified for the NAIA national championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The competition is set for late May. It will be Frankian’s fourth straight appearance.
TMU baseball playing in GSAC tournament
The Mustangs fell 3-2 to William Jessup in their second game of the double-elimination GSAC tournament on Monday in Costa Mesa.
Master’s will play the winner of Vanguard and Hope on Tuesday at 3 p.m., with its season on the line.
TMU won its opener, 4-2, over Hope International in 13 innings on Monday morning. Trailing Hope 2-1 entering the top of the ninth, junior Preston White singled to right field. Then he stole second base. He took third on a passed ball.
Freshman Kameron Quitno drove in White with a sinking line drive to left field to tie the score.
Freshman pitcher Caleb Jaime tossed four innings of gritty relief, earning the win after Quitno drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th inning. Saugus High graduate Robert Winslow started on the mound for TMU and tallied nine strong innings. He allowed two runs on six hits against one of the GSAC’s best lineups. He struck out seven.
For more information on TMU Athletics, visit GoMustangs.com.