Personal Bests Dictate Big West Weekly Award Winners
The five Big West Track and Field Athlete of the Week award winners established personal best marks at their final regular season meets prior to the conference championship.
UC Davis senior Brian Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch HS) reeled off back-to-back Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Week awards after setting the school record in the 400 meters. He became the first Aggie in school history to run below the 47 second threshold in the event. Finishing in first place against Sacramento State at the Causeway Classic Dual Meet, Thomas clocked in at 46.79 seconds. He took over the top spot on the Big West Performance List and moved to No. 25 in the West Region. In addition, Thomas ran the second leg on the Aggie 4x100 relay team, helping them to a first place finish in a time of 40.91.
For the third time this season, freshman De’Andreah Young (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern Senior HS) captured Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Week accolades for her work in the 400 meter hurdles. The CSUN phenom lowered her personal-best to 57.81 seconds in winning the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson, Ariz. Saturday. The season-best time improved upon her 58.15 mark at the Stanford Invitational and vaulted her to No. 7 in the West Region and No. 15 nationally. Young also strengthened her hold on the No. 3 spot in the CSUN record book for the 400 meter hurdles. Young also competed in the 4x100 meter relay at the Desert Heat Classic, finishing in sixth place in 46.37 with teammates Sydney Berry, Courtney Robinson and Kayla Pickens.
Cal State Fullerton senior Anthony Applequist (Walnut, Calif./Mt. San Antonio College) posted the top triple jump mark of his career in collecting Big West Men’s Field Athlete of the Week honors. At the prestigious Penn Relays, Applequist won the event with a leap of 51-3.5 (15.63m), improving upon his previous PR of 51-02.75 at the UCLA Legends Invite in 2017. Applequist is No. 2 in the Big West, No 20 in the West Region and No. 35 in the NCAA for the triple jump.
Sharing Big West Women’s Field Athlete of the Week honors are Cal State Fullerton junior Nicole Clark (Torrance, Calif./El Camino College) and UC Santa Barbara senior Kiely Gode (Auburn, Calif./Del Oro HS) as both established lifetime bests in their respective events.
Clark, who set the Cal State Fullerton school record in the javelin earlier this season with a mark of 144-11 (47.77m) at the Ben Brown Invitational, easily surpassed that distance at the Steve Scott Invitational. In fact, she downright destroyed the record. Clark heaved her instrument 156 feet, 9 inches to win the event and take over first place on the Big West Performance List by nine inches. In addition, Clark landed in the No. 25 slot in the West Region with her performance.
Gode was equally impressive in the long jump against rival Cal Poly at the Blue-Green Rivalry Dual. Competing at the newly renovated Pauley Track facility on the UC Santa Barbara campus, Gode helped the Gauchos defeat the Mustangs head-to-head with her first-place showing. Gode’s distance of 20-09.75 (6.34m) in the long jump moved her to No. 1 in the Big West by over five inches. It marked the third time this season that Gode exceeded 20 feet in the long jump, but she bested her previous PR by 7.25 inches. Gode posted the farthest long jump distance in the Big West since UC Riverside’s Tayler Fleming leapt 20-11.75 at the 2016 Big West Multi-Event Championships. Gode’s effort also placed her at No. 7 in the West Region and No. 14 in the NCAA. She also helped UCSB pick up points with a top finish of 175-01 (53.36m) in the hammer throw – currently the Big West’s fifth-best mark this season.
Others nominated (Men’s Track): Bikram Thiara (Cal Poly); Mason Guzman-Sanchez (Cal State Fullerton); T’Jari Packard (CSUN); Daniel York-Mouton (Long Beach State); Heinrich Van Niekerk (UC Riverside); Myles McDonald (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Women’s Track): Ciara Levy (Cal Poly); Gabrielle De La Rosa (Cal State Fullerton); Ashleigh Chambers (Long Beach State); Xjaedah Williams (UC Davis); Persis William-Mensah (UC Irvine); Weslie Pearce (UC Riverside); Hope Bender (UC Santa Barbara); Kristen LaCosse (Hawai‘i)
Others nominated (Men’s Field): Enzo Sison (Cal Poly); Joshua Turner (CSUN); Nico Hudson (Long Beach State); Anthony Reyes (UC Riverside); Chase Tarr (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Women’s Field): Abi Iriafen (Cal Poly); Gardenia Centenaro (CSUN); Barbara Coward (UC Irvine)