Track and Field Weekly Award Winners Rack Up First Place Finishes
The four winners of the first installment of 2017 Big West Track and Field Athlete of the Week awards all had successful first-place efforts at season-opening meets.
UC Santa Barbara junior Sike Azu-Irondi (Los Angeles, Calif./College of the Canyons) blazed to a first-place finish in the 100-meters at the All-UC Challenge, garnering Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Week honors. He ran a school-record 10.55, breaking a 30-year old mark by .01 seconds. Most impressively, Azu-Irondi made his first appearance on the track since being sidelined by injury for most of last season. The 10.55 time also broke a four-year old meet record.
The 2016 Big West Freshman of the Year, Long Beach State’s Courtne’ Davis (Riverside, Calif./Eleanor Roosevelt HS) kicked off her second outdoor campaign a Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Week award. She collected the honor because of two first-place and one runner-up finish at the dual meet victory over UCLA. She won the 100-meters in a wind-aided 11.69 and finished second in the 200-meters in 24.01. Both times were faster than in her opening meet of 2016. But her best effort came in the 4x100 relay, when she used a blistering anchor leg to lead the Beach to a victory in a time of 45.88. She accelerated away from UCLA after taking the baton with a slight lead. The 45.88 represented the fastest season opening mark in school history. LBSU defeated the Bruins, 100.5-86.5.
Long Beach State sophomore Kemonie Briggs (Long Beach, Calif./Texas Tech) placed in the top-two in four events to help his squad defeat UCLA in a dual meet, and earned Big West Men’s Field Athlete of the Week accolades. He won the long jump at a wind-aided (+2.5) distance of 26-02.75, exceeding his previous best mark of 26-02.50 by one-fourth of an inch. He also had two other jumps at or above 25-11.50. His jump equalled the furthest distance achieved by any jumper from the West Region in 2016, including the 2016 NCAA Long Jump champion and Bowerman Award winner, Jarrion Lawson. Briggs also ran in events with the three runner-up finishes – 200-meters (21.55), 4x100 relay (41.64) and 4x400 relay (3:16.57). The Beach won the dual meet over the Bruins, 98-71.
UC Irvine sophomore Barbara Coward (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony HS) took home Big West Women’s Field Athlete of the Week honors as she shattered her own school record in the discus at the season-opening All-UC Challenge Saturday at Triton Track & Field Stadium. She won the event in 177-10, breaking her own former record by six feet, one inch. The throw also obliterated the All-UC Challenge meet record by over 12 feet. Coward also competed in the hammer throw and posted a personal-best mark of 176-06, which vaulted her up two spots to No. 3 in program history.
Others nominated (Men’s Track): Liam Martinez (Cal Poly); Luis Matos (Cal State Fullerton); Brian Thomas (UC Davis); Lloyd Sicard (UC Irvine)
Others nominated (Women’s Track): Peyton Bilo (Cal Poly); Fanny Giron (Cal State Fullerton); Kierra Davis (UC Davis); Shannon Trumbull (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Men’s Field): Arnie Sambel (Cal Poly); Dwayne Lee (Cal State Fullerton); Drew Xandrine-Anderson (UC Davis); Silviu Bocancea (UC Riverside); Kordell Hampton (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Women’s Field): Megan Mooney (Cal Poly); Bryn Williamson (Cal State Fullerton); Allison Foster (Long Beach State); Erinn Beattie (UC Davis); Valerie Nestor (UC Santa Barbara)