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July 13
1884 - Hardison & Stewart start drilling Star No. 1 oil well in Pico Canyon; later form Union Oil Co. [story]
Lyman Stewart


By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director

On more than one occasion this season, Master’s coach Zach Schroeder sat down with Justin Harris to discuss the junior’s most recent performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

They explored what went well, what went wrong and the level of success that Harris’ training pointed to.

In short, Harris’ performance in practice suggested he was capable of races like his last two, the latest coming Saturday evening at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Harris ran a PR in the event for the second time in as many races, finishing in 9 minutes, 26.44 seconds and continuing to build momentum as he prepares for NAIA nationals later this month.

“He’s racing stronger, he’s more fit, he’s more confident than he’s ever been,” Schroeder said. “All those things are in our corner.”

Harris’ breakthrough performance came April 26 in Santa Barbara when he lowered his PR by an astounding 17 seconds. Harris said he was pulled along in what was the Golden State Athletic Conference championship race by teammate Stephen Pacheco, who won the title with Harris coming in second. Both athletes made NAIA nationals cuts, Harris for the first time in his career.

Schroeder wrapped Harris in a hug near the finish line. Harris clenched his fists in celebration.

The moment was months in the making.

“Justin is one of those guys who had done the work, done the work and we just needed the race set up the right way and he got that at conference,” Schroeder said. “That was a 17-second PR, which is huge, but that race was more reflective of how he’d been training.”

Harris credited a change in mindset for his recent improvement.

“Coach really hits home the fact that we are training at a level that allows us to compete better than what we actually think,” he said. “And by really trusting in the training we’ve done, it allows us to compete at that level.”

Schroeder hoped that Harris — who also tweaked his technique for clearing barriers after TMU’s meet at UCLA earlier this season — would be able to replicate his championship performance Saturday at Oxy, an event that in past years has served as one last chance for Mustangs to hit NAIA cuts.

This year, that wasn’t the case. Each Master’s athlete competing had already secured at least an NAIA “B” standard and would be making the trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama, for nationals May 23-25.

That group includes Arianna Ghiorso in the 1,500; Seanna Nalbandyan, a returning NAIA All-American, in the 400 hurdles; Stephen Pacheco and Wesley Methum in the 5,000; and Keylan Meneses, Isaac Ventura, Kevin Pacheco and Davis Boggess in the 4×800-meter relay.

All were in action during a meet that didn’t end until late Saturday night because of lightning delays, but Stephen Pacheco might’ve been the most impressive.

Pacheco set his mind to running 14:40 in the 5K at Oxy, a mark that would represent a personal best and would secure the NAIA “A” standard. His expectations were too low.

Pacheco won his heat and finished in 14:39.75, a mark that was well under the “A” cut and was the sixth fastest time in the country this year as of late Saturday evening. He is the fourth Mustang in program history to dip below 14:40 in the event.

“It’s exciting to see these guys running their best at the end of the season,” Schroeder said. “Justin continues to look better and better over the barriers. Stephen is racing with great confidence and running very intelligent races. Both guys have been incredibly focused and disciplined all season long. It’s going to be exciting to see what they do at nationals.”

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LOCAL SPORTS HEADLINES
Friday, Jul 10, 2020
SACRAMENTO – The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved implementation of its Contingency Plan on Thursday, providing a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year that shifts all sports, including football, to the spring season.
Thursday, Jul 9, 2020
College of the Canyons Athletic Hall of Famer and former UCLA and Houston Oilers linebacker Avon Riley, who starred for the Cougars during the 1977 and 1978 seasons, has passed. Riley was 62.
Thursday, Jul 2, 2020
College of the Canyons All-State middle linebacker Charles Ike, one of the most prodigious tacklers in the program's proud history, has signed with Idaho State University after a notable two-year run as one of the Cougars' top defensive playmakers.
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020
College of the Canyons hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Bradley Brown has signed with Northern Arizona University, the latest member of the Cougars' 2019 defensive unit to move on to a four-year program.
Sunday, Jun 28, 2020
College of the Canyons defensive lineman Aurion Peoples has committed to Arkansas State University, becoming the program's second player to do so this spring and continuing the recent trend of former Cougars turned Red Wolves.

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