Long Beach State Men, UC Davis Women Repeat As Track and Field Champions
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2014 Big West Track and Field Championships Central
The Long Beach State men and UC Davis women won their second consecutive titles to conclude the 2014 Big West Track and Field Championships Saturday at Woody Wilson Track.
The 49ers notched their eighth Big West title overall, and fifth in the last nine years as they won eight events Saturday, led by four victories from their notoriously strong field contingent. The 49ers scored a school record 218.5 points. Cal Poly finished second with 144.5 points for its best finish since 2006. Host UC Davis came in third place with 133 points followed by UC Santa Barbara in fourth at 91. UC Riverside placed fifth (72 points), with Cal State Northridge (63.5), UC Irvine (46) and Cal State Fullerton (43.5) rounding out the standings.
Eight men’s titles tie Long Beach State with former Big West member San Jose State for the second-most in conference history. The 49ers own the most titles of any current Big West member.
UC Davis and Cal State Northridge engaged in a heated battle that came right down to the last couple of events in the women’s competition. In the end, the Aggies pulled through with their third consecutive Big West title, winning with 194 points. The Matadors, who led following the completion of Friday’s events, tallied 183.33 points. UC Irvine’s 83 points for third place marked the program’s best finish at the conference meet since 2002.
Bunched between fourth and sixth were Long Beach State (73.5 points), UC Santa Barbara (73) and Cal Poly (69.33), while UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton tied for seventh with 49 points. Hawai‘i had 42.83 points for ninth.
The 49er men won all four field events Saturday and collected 75.5 of their total points with several other scoring participants. Senior Adam Bianchessi started things off with a javelin toss of 217-10, and LBSU continued with gold in the pole vault (Conner Rouse – 17-00.75), the triple jump (Willie Alexander – 51-05.75) and the discus (Jason Harrell – 182-02). Harrell’s win in the discus was the fourth straight by a 49er at the conference championship meet.
The women contested the triple jump, shot put and high jump in the field events. UC Davis sophomore Catherine Li set a school record with a triple jump mark of 41-01.50.
UC Irvine junior Itos Aikhionbare captured her second title of the meet as she threw 49-03.50 in the shot put, coming on the heels of her victory in Friday’s discus competition.
In the high jump, Cal State Northridge junior Lydia French cleared 5-09.75 to become the second Matador to win the event in the last three years.
Prime Ticket, which telecast the Big West Championships for the second straight year, covered the entire track portion of the meet.
The 49er men parlayed victories in four track events to bolster their push for another title. Senior Davon Wilson-Angel won his second career title in the 110-meter hurdles (13.97), besting his 2013 winning time by one-tenth of a second. LBSU corralled 19 points with first, second and eighth place finishes in the 400-meter dash, Michael Perez-Rogers clocking 47.33 to capture gold.
Junior Chris Low sparked the 49ers to another win in the 800-meter run as his time of 1:48.71 upheld his standing as the Big West’s top performer in that event. The 49ers punctuated their title with a victory in the final event of the meet, posting a 3:11.31 in the 4x400 relay.
Cal Poly senior Chris Frias beat teammate Nick Woolf by .28 seconds to claim his second straight victory in the 5,000-meters. Frias ran 14:36.25 to better his winning mark from last year by 12 seconds. The Mustangs also got a first-place effort from senior Jamison Jordan as he finished in 21.49 in the 200-meter dash, becoming the program’s first winner since Kaaron Conwright in 2000.
UC Davis won four track events, including for the first time in the 100 and 1,500-meters. Junior Marcus Johnson went 10.36 in the 100 while junior Nathan Strum edged 1,500 favorite Shyan Vaziri of UC Santa Barbara by three-tenths of a second, finishing in 3:46.32.
Senior Karl Moran won the 400-meter hurdles for the Aggies in a time of 51.55, while the 4x100 meter relay team stopped Cal State Northridge’s five-year reign in the event with a winning time of 40.82.
UC Davis reeled off seven victories in the track portion of the women’s meet, which factored heavily in the narrow margin of victory over the Matadors.
Junior Ashley Marshall was a double medalist in the 100 and 200-meters for the second straight year. The speedster just missed her own meet record in the 100 by two-tenths of a second, crossing the line in 11.36. She returned to win by one-tenth of a second over Cal State Northridge’s Marie Veale and Cal State Fullerton’s Janaya Shorty in the 200. Marshall won that event in 23.85.
Alycia Cridebring continued Aggie dominance in the long distance events as the senior turned in a time of 17:11.32 to win the 5,000-meters. Cridebring, who won the 1,500-meters in 2012, finished third on Saturday as teammate Raquel Lambdin captured gold for the second consecutive year. Lambdin won in a time of 4:23.39.
Other UC Davis first-place finishes came from Cekarri Nixon in the 400-meter dash (53.55), Shanie Landen in the 800-meters (2:08.03) and Kellie Grigg in the 400-meter hurdles (59.58).
Cal State Fullerton’s 4x100 relay team won for the third time in four years, posting a 45.33. Cal State Northridge’s 4x400 relay team returned to the winner’s circle (3:38.90) after a two-year hiatus. UC Riverside junior Danielle Littleton won her second event at the championship, posting a 13.56 in the 100-meter hurdles to follow her win in Friday’s long jump competition.
Big West athletes will be off for two weeks until the NCAA West Preliminary Round May 29-31 in Fayetteville, Ark.