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Seven Hancock College athletes qualified for the Southern California Regional Track & Field Trials.  They are, from left, Rachel Naugle, Brent Dionisio, Taylor Nevitt, Ben Wulfestieg, Jose Rodriguez and Laron Gilchrist. Steven Youngblood, not in the photo, also qualified. Naugle, Dionisio, Nevitt and Youngblood advanced to the SoCal Finals for a chance to earn a spot at the 2017 CCCAA Track and Field State Championships. 

Kevin Boland, Hancock College photographer

Four Hancock College track and field athletes punched tickets to the Southern California Regional Finals with strong performances on Saturday during the SoCal Prelims at Cerritos College.

Rachel Naugle and Taylor Nevitt both qualified for two finals. Steven Youngblood and Brent Dionisio also earned opportunities to qualify for the state meet next week.

Youngblood finished fourth in his heat and eighth overall in the men's 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 9:58.53 to qualify for next week’s final.

Dionisio, the Western State Conference champion, was one of five high jumpers who tied for first with a top clearance of 6 feet, 2.75 inches. 

On the women’s side, Naugle finished second in her heat and fourth overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:48.94. She had already qualified for next week’s 5,000-meter final.

Nevitt moved on in the shot put and discus throw. The Nipomo High School graduate finished fourth in the shot put with a top mark of 37-10.75, and 10th in the discus with a top mark of 122-5. Nevitt just missed qualifying in the hammer throw by seven inches. She finished in 13th place with a personal-best mark of 128-10. 

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Three more Bulldogs competed at the trials but did not advance to the finals. Ben Wulfestieg finished 20th in the men’s shot put trials. The freshman’s top throw was 39 feet, 2.5 inches, about 4 feet, 5 inches shy of what was needed to advance to the final.

Laron Gilchrist competed in the discus throw, but he fouled on all three of his attempts.

Rodriguez tied for 11th overall in the men’s pole vault by clearing 13 feet, 9.25 inches. The top nine in the prelims advanced to next week’s final.

The SoCal Finals will take place at Cerritos College on Saturday, May 13. Athletes will try to qualify for the 2017 CCCAA Track and Field State Championships, which will take place at American River College on May 19-20. Unlike the SoCal Trials where a predetermined number of athletes moved on to the finals, only athletes with the top six marks or times in individual events automatically advance to state. 

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