UC Santa Barbara Squads Lead Track and Field Standings
Links associated with this release:
Track and Field Championship Central
Friday Results | Saturday Meet Program
UC Santa Barbara owns slight leads in the men’s and women’s competitions following Friday’s Big West Track and Field Championships at the Titan Track Complex.
Through seven scored events, the Gaucho men have scored 70 points. They are in a tight race with second place Cal Poly, which has 68 points. Four-time defending champion Long Beach State sits in third with 52 points. CSUN (28), UC Davis (20), host Cal State Fullerton (18), UC Irvine (10) and UC Riverside (7) round out the men’s standings.
The Gauchos are seeking their first men’s title since 2012.
The women’s standings are even more snarled. UCSB leads with 58.4 points, but defending champion UC Davis is right behind with 53.2. Long Beach State is third with 40.2 points, followed by UC Riverside (39) and CSUN (38). Cal State Fullerton (16.2), Hawai‘i (14), Cal Poly (9) and UC Irvine (5) complete the women’s standings.
Last UCSB women’s title occurred in 2005.
The last time a Big West school won men’s and women’s titles in the same season was 2010 when CSUN accomplished the feat.
FOX Sports Prime Ticket will provide a live telecast of Saturday’s competition at the Titan Track Complex, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The men’s and women’s 4x100 relay races will begin action on the track. First field event is the men’s hammer at 10:00 a.m.
Friday’s first completed event involved a record-breaking performance. In the women’s hammer, CSUN senior Monique Griffiths broke both the Big West meet and overall records. On her third attempt, she broke the conference meet record with a heave of 209-04.75, supplanting the mark of 206-03 held by UC Santa Barbara’s Amy Haapenen since 2007.
But Griffiths, who utilized a redshirt year in 2016, was not done. On her sixth and final attempt, she unleashed a throw of 215 feet, 11.25 inches that eclipsed Haapenen’s 10-year old overall conference mark of 213-10. That distance now ranks Griffiths No. 6 nationally.
No other records were broken the remainder of the day, but still several solid performances took place.
In the men’s javelin, UC Santa Barbara’s Matthew Kuskey posted a season-best throw of 218-08 to become the fourth different Gauchos in the last five years to win the event.
The Gauchos recorded their second top finish in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with senior Adam Avila finishing in 9:00.45.
Long Beach State picked up a pair of first-place finishes in the long jump and pole vault. The men collected half – 26 of their 52-point total – in the long jump as Kemonie Briggs, Jason Smith and Saladin Nasser finished 1-2-3. Briggs repeated as champion with a mark of 25-08.25. LBSU is the first Big West program since CSUN in 2008 to sweep the top three spots in the long jump.
The Beach pole vault program continued to dominate with an event victor for the fourth straight year. Senior Paul Thenard took home gold with a career-best clearance of 16-09.50.
Cal Poly did major damage in the men’s 10,000, gobbling up 21 points with first, third and fourth place finishes. The winner was junior Swarnjit Boyal in 31:35.59. The Gauchos tallied 15 points in that event to mitigate the Mustang bump in points as they had three runners in the top six.
Daniel Swarbrick of CSUN won the men’s discus for the second year in a row with a toss of 183 feet, 8 inches. He became the first Matador to take consecutive crowns since Derek Cooper earned three straight golds (2008-10).
The Matador women also witnessed good fortune on Friday. In addition to Griffiths rewriting the Big West record book, senior Brianna Cueva improved her PR in the shot put with a winning mark of 53 feet, 2.75 inches. She became the first CSUN athlete to win that event since 2006. The distance also vaulted her to No. 33 on the national best marks list.
CSUN tallied 23 points in the shot put with Cueva’s first, followed by second and fourth place finishes from her teammates.
UC Davis sophomore Erinn Beattie established the school record in the high jump with a distance of 5 feet, 10.75 inches. She tied Long Beach State’s Bria Palmer but won the title and 10 team points based on attempts. The first Aggie to win the high jump at the conference meet, Beattie had once owned the school benchmark at 5-09.25 but saw teammate Morgan Bertsch surpass it at Cal’s Brutus Hamilton meet on April 29. Bertsch finished third in Friday’s competition as the Aggies scored 16 of their 53.2 points from that one event.
Other event winners included UC Riverside junior Weslie Pearce in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. The first Highlander champion in that event, Pearce posted a school record performance in 10 minutes, 24.24 seconds as the fourth-fastest winning time in Big West meet history.
Long Beach State senior Riley Cooks, the gold medalist in last weekend’s heptathlon, picked up another 10 points for the Beach cause with her win in the long jump. Cooks cleared 19-09.50 to become the first Beach athlete since Phylicia Johnson in 2011 to win the event. Cooks will have the chance to pick up more points for her team on Saturday when she competes in the finals of the 100-meter hurdles and 4x100 relay.
UC Santa Barbara senior Kelsey O’Connell outdueled a contingent of five UC Davis counterparts in the 10,000 meters, finishing with a winning time of 36:26.59. The Gauchos and Aggies mopped up in the race they claimed all 39 available points, with UC Davis receiving 26 as a result of placing runners in the 2nd through 6th positions.
Preliminary events took up the remainder of the meet program, setting up anticipated finals for Saturday. UC Irvine senior Lloyd Sicard notched the fastest 110-meter hurdles prelim time (13.75), and he seeks to win gold for the third consecutive year.
In the 100-meter hurdles, UCI senior Megan George will attempt to become a three-time champion. She had the third-fastest prelim time (13.47), while teammate Tyra Jones was the fastest in a career-best 13.38. CSUN’s Courtney Robinson will also pose a threat to George’s run toward supremacy as she owned the No. 2 time in 13.45.
Cal State Fullerton put three of its sprinters in the 100-meter final. Eli Penick, the defending champion, is one of them. His time of 10.62 was the fifth-fastest.
Long Beach State sprinter Courtne’ Davis, a double winner last year in the 100- and 200-meters, will have the opportunity to repeat in both races. She had the top 200m prelim time in 23.93.