The CSUN women and Long Beach State men each earned their ninth overall Big West Track and Field Championship crowns to conclude action at the UCR Track Facility Saturday.
Buoyed by dominating performances in the field events, both squads continued their traditions of excellence at the championship meet. The Matadors have won seven of the last 10 Big West titles, albeit the first since 2011, as they snapped a three-year UC Davis run of conference supremacy.
The 49er men notched their third straight title, fourth in the last five years, and six of the last 10. It is the first three-peat in LBSU history, and the first since Utah State reeled off three straight from 1994-96. The nine championships represent the most for any current Big West member, and second only to Fresno State (10).
CSUN scored a program record 212 points, which also represented the highest winning score since 2003. The Matador women picked up 105 of those points in the field events alone, with an additional 77 points tallied by a talented sprinting corps.
UC Davis made a balanced push in distance events, sprints and field events in an attempt to win a fourth straight title, but finished in second place with 168 points. Cal Poly tallied 102 points for third, and UC Santa Barbara was fourth with 80. Host UC Riverside finished fifth with 69 points, while Hawai‘i (55), Long Beach State (52), Cal State Fullerton (42) and UC Irvine (39) rounded out the women’s standings.
The men’s race came right down to the end between Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. After Friday’s events, the Gauchos led the 49ers by 34.5 points going into the final day. But LBSU displaced that deficit with big scoring performances in the pole vault, triple jump, discus and 400 meters. Those four events combined netted the 49ers 79.5 of their winning aggregate of 185.
UCSB was the runner up with 167 points. Bunched together in third, fourth and fifth place was Cal Poly (95), CSUN (94) and UC Davis (92). The remainder of the men’s standings included Cal State Fullerton with 66 points, UC Riverside (63) and UC Irvine (55).
Several noteworthy performances took place across the board.
UC Davis senior Ashley Marshall became the first athlete in Big West history to win the 100 and 200 meters three times in a career. Marshall earned gold in the 100 in a time of 11.52, and returned to win the 200 in 23.35.
CSUN senior Carl Horsley mimicked Marshall’s accomplishment as the first three-time dual winner in the 100 and 200. Horsley, the 100 and 200 champion in 2011 and 2013, stayed with the win in odd numbered years trend as he blazed to victory in 10.39 in the 100 and posted 20.84 in the 200.
Another Aggie doubled on the medal stand as senior Raquel Lambdin became the first athlete since UC Riverside’s Brenda Martinez in 2010 to win the 800 and 1,500 meters. Lambdin won the 800 in 2:06.24 and posted the second-fastest winning 1,500 time in championship meet history in 4:17.09. She just missed breaking the 28-year old record of 4:16.40 owned by UNLV’s Trena Hull.
UC Santa Barbara senior Jessica Johnson won the 400 meters in a personal-best 52.50 seconds, which ties her for No. 15 nationally in the event.
UC Irvine sophomore Megan George made history in winning the 100-meter hurdles in 13.51 seconds, establishing an Anteater record and erasing the old mark of 13.67 set by Golde Ibia in 2009. George also became UCI’s first 100 hurdles champion with the victory.
Senior Chris Low of Long Beach State won the 800 meters for the second straight year. He led from start to finish in posting a time of 1:48.72.
Monique Griffiths, a CSUN senior, earned two gold medals at the championship meet. She posted the second-best winning mark in conference championship history with a heave of 204 feet, six inches in the hammer. Griffiths also won the discus on Friday.
Long Beach State sophomore Michael Montgomery thrilled the fans with a career-best performance in the pole vault. Registering the furthest mark since former 49er Tyler Wallace eclipsed 18 feet in 2011, Montgomery won with a final clearance of 17 feet, 9 inches (5.41m). The mark ties Montgomery for the No. 11 spot nationally according to the TFRRS rankings.
UC Riverside senior Michael Koger added his name to the list of two-time champions in the event. A 2013 winner in the 400-meter hurdles, Koger returned to the top spot on the podium as he won in 51.73 seconds.
Sophomore Rachel Toliver gave Hawai‘i one of two victories in the field events as she unleashed a career-best mark of 41 feet, 9.25 inches in the triple jump. The mark ties her for No. 15 in the West Region. Teammate Alex Porlier-Langlois took home first place in the shot put as she cleared 52-06.50.
For the first time in Big West championship meet history, the coaches selected a Men’s and Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet via vote. Carl Horsley and Marie Veale swept the honors for CSUN.
In addition to being the 100 and 200 champion, Horsley anchored the winning 4x100 meter relay team in 40.06 seconds.
Veale had an all-around outstanding meet. She began the meet last weekend by finishing fifth in her first-ever heptathlon. The junior also contributed to the Matador 4x100 (44.74) and 4x400 (3:40.11) winning relay teams, and finished second in the 100 meter dash (11.80) and third in the 200 meter dash (23.76).