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Track & Field

Long Beach Prevails At Big West Challenge Cup

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The Long Beach State men’s track and field team won its fifth-straight Big West Challenge team title, while the women took second Sunday at Titan Track Complex. The 49er men finished ahead of the pack with 222 points and the women compiled 172 points to come in behind UC Santa Barbara (212.5). LBSU posted nine individual victories on the men’s side. Ben Woodruff won the javelin with a school and conference record 243-02. He topped his previous lifetime best, which he established earlier this year at the Cal-Nevada Championships, by over seven feet.

The Gaucho women had a phenomenal day capturing the women’s title with several athletes highlighting the field events which included multiple first place finishes from several individual athletes. Barbara Nwaba would take a break from the multi-events and compete in the high jump where she placed first (5-9.75) and javelin which she also won (131-9) and the 100m hurdles where she placed second (13.82).  In the jumps, Tayler Williams placed first in the triple jump at 39-9.75 and first in the long jump. Williams and Veronica Gines would finish 1-2 in the long jump with Williams winning the event at 18-4.25 and Gines placing second at 17-10.25. Freshman Katie Lee’s highest clearance of the day in the pole vault was at 10-10, placing fourth overall.

In the men’s competition, Long Beach continued to dominate the meet men’s side with 222 point, followed by UC Santa Barbara (200.50), UC Irvine (144) and closing out the competition Cal State Fullerton (96.50).  On the women’s side the Gauchos took first with a large difference of 212.50, with closest competitor Long Beach State with 172, followed by UC Irvine (156.50) and Cal State Fullerton (113).

Long Beach Hosts Beach Invitational:

Long Beach State will hold the annual Beach Invitational at Cerritos College, April 20-21. The hammer throw is the only event scheduled for Friday and begins at noon. The rest of the meet takes place on Saturday with the field events slated for a 9 a.m. start and the track events set to get underway at 10 a.m. The Beach Invite has grown into one of the largest regular season collegiate meets on the West Coast. There were over 3,100 in attendance last year.

The 49ers have nine entries in the 54th annual Mt. SAC Relays, which will be held at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut. Rosa Del Toro (1500m), Jessica Barnard (3000m Steeplechase) and Steven DeCastro (3000m Steeplechase) are set to compete on Thursday, April 19, beginning at 2 p.m. The following day, Manny Neizer gets things started for LBSU with the triple jump at 11:30 a.m.

New Face At Helm Of Northridge Track & Field Program: Avery Anderson, who for the last seven years has been a major contributor to one of the Big West Conference’s most prolific track & field programs, was named head track and field coach at Cal State Northridge last summer. Anderson succeeds Don Strametz who retired after 31 years as the head coach of the women’s team and 26 at the helm of the men’s program.

During the past seven seasons, the Matadors have won 11 conference championships including six Big West Women’s Outdoor Championships. In addition, The CSUN men have won four Big West Outdoor titles since Anderson began his second stint on the coaching staff in 2005.

Since arriving at Northridge, Anderson has helped the Matador track & field program to unprecedented levels of success. He has coached two NCAA Champions including 2007 NCAA Outdoor Long Jump Champion DaShalle Andrews who became the first individual men’s NCAA Champion in school history. The following spring, Anderson made it back-to-back NCAA Long Jump champions as freshman Reindell Cole won the 2008 NCAA Indoor title.

Big West Track & Field Championship Returns to Irvine: For the second consecutive year the Big West Track & Field Championships takes place at Anteater Stadium on the campus of UC Irvine.  The 2012 championship begins with the multi championships (decathlon/heptathlon) on May 4 & 5  and is followed by the remainder of the events taking place May 11-12.

Last year, The Long Beach State men and Cal State Northridge women proved to be too tough for the competition as the two clubs took home their respective Big West Track & Field Titles.  The 49ers won the league meet for the first time since 2008 and won their sixth title overall. LBSU amassed 177.50 points for the championship, outdistancing UC Davis which had 156 points. Cal Poly was third with 131 points, while UC Santa Barbara stands in fourth with 116.5 points. Fifth belongs to Cal State Northridge with 80 points, with host UC Irvine (79), UC Riverside (54) and Cal State Fullerton (25) complete the men’s standings.

The Matadors claimed their sixth consecutive championship and now own a league-record eight overall. CSUN’s championship defense had it post 165.5 points, with UC Santa Barbara coming in second with 126 tallies. UC Davis was third with 105 points, while Long Beach State (98.5), UC Riverside (97) and Cal Poly (88) are bunched in fourth through sixth. UC Irvine’s 75 points and Cal State Fullerton’s 61 points wrap up the women’s standings.