A Look Back At The 2018 Track and Field Season
2018 Track and Field Final Release
The 2018 track and field season featured a repeat men's champion, a first time women's champion, and a first team All-American.
YEAR IN REVIEW NOTEBOOK
BEATTIE NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN
Fifteen Big West athletes earned All-America recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, headlined by first team honoree Erinn Beattie of UC Davis.
Beattie tied for second place in the women’s high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 11.5 inches (1.82m). She actually equalled the top height of the competition, but Alexus Henry of UT-Arlington was declared the champion as she reached that height in fewer attempts.
Making her second straight NCAA Championship appearance, Beattie earned the highest finish by a Big West high jumper at nationals since former Cal Poly and U.S. Olympian Sharon Day claimed the national title in 2005 and placed second in 2004.
Beattie set the UC Davis record earlier in the season with a clearance of 6-00.50 at the Bryan Clay Invitational.
First team All-American status is achieved when a competitor finishes in the top eight of an event.
Beattie is the third Aggie in the last four years to be named a first team All-American by the USTFCCCA. Rianna Goins (800 meters) earned the honor in 2017 and Raquel Lambdin (1,500 meters) in 2015. It is the seventh straight year a UC Davis athlete achieved at least honorable mention accolades.
ALL-AMERICAN HONORS BESTOWED ON 14 OTHERS
In addition to Beattie, 14 other Big West athletes competed at nationals inside the historic Hayward Field venue in Eugene, Ore. Those performances garnered the group All-American recognition.
In particular, UC Santa Barbara junior Hope Bender and UC Davis senior Marc Toney captured second team All-American accolades. To qualify as a second teamer, a competitor must finish between ninth and 16th place in an event.
Toney finished in 10th place in the men’s pole vault. He cleared 17 feet, 10.5 inches to obliterate the Aggie all-time record. The previous mark of 17-06.50 was shared by Toney and two others. Toney is the first Aggie to achieve second team All-America recognition since 2011 when Thomas Phillips and Alex Wilright placed 13th and 15th in the 400 meter hurdles, respectively. Toney is also the first Big West pole vaulter since Cal Poly’s John Prader (2012) to be named a second team All-American.
Bender came in 12th place among 24 competitors in the heptathlon as she scored 5,653 points. The Gaucho turned in the best point total by a Big West heptathlete at nationals since former UCSB standout Barbara Nwaba had 5,927 points for a runner-up finish in 2012. Bender’s best event was the 200 meters, clocking 24.21 seconds for third place and coming up just short of her personal best 24.15 set at the Big West Multi-Event Championships.
The list of honorable mention All-Americans included the following:
« Jenna Hinkle, UC Santa Barbara – The senior claimed honorable mention distinction for the second year in a row in the 1,500 meters. Coming off a school record effort of 4:15.39 at the West Preliminary in Sacramento, Hinkle ran the distance in 4:24.07 for 23rd place. She came in 19th place in 2017. Hinkle became the first in school history to qualify for nationals twice in the 1500m.
« Lily Lowe, Hawai‘i – The sophomore finished in 18th place in the women’s high jump with a top mark of 5 feet, 8 inches.
« Saladin Nasser, Long Beach State – The senior turned in an 18th place showing with a top leap of 24-06.50 (7.48m) in the men’s high jump.
« Jason Smith, Long Beach State – The sophomore came in 20th place in the men’s long jump with a distance of 24-04.25 (7.42m). Nasser and Smith became the first Beach duo since 2006 to compete in the same event at the NCAA’s.
« Marcel Espinoza/Rasaun House/Luis Matos/Thaddeus Smith, Cal State Fullerton – The Titan 4x100 relay quartet finished 21st overall in a time of 40.10 seconds, which represented their second-fastest time of the season. The group clocked a school-record time of 39.86 – the first sub-40 second race in school history – at the West Preliminary meet in Sacramento that booked their trip to nationals.
« Ashleigh Chambers/Courtne’ Davis/Madison Golden/Azaria Hill, Long Beach State – The Beach foursome broke the school record in the 4x100 relay for the third time this season. They crossed the line in 44.59 seconds for 18th place overall. The group initially set the LBSU record in 44.85 seconds at the MONDO Team Challenge, then improved upon that mark with a 44.63 performance at the Big West Championships. Chambers, Davis, Golden and Hill represented the second Beach 4x100 relay team to reach nationals – the first since 2007.
CAL STATE FULLERTON REPEATS AS MEN’S CHAMPION
Cal State Fullerton head coach John Elders, the dean of the Big West coaching fraternity in his 30th season, guided the Titans to their second straight conference championship. In the previous 28 years, CSF’s best finish was third (2006), making the current two-year run all the more impressive.
The Titans upped their winning point total from 133 in 2017 to 154 in 2018 in a showcase of their overall depth. That depth was obviously apparent in the sprints. The team scored double-digit points in the 200 meters (19), 100 meters (18), 110 meter hurdles (15) and 4x100 relay (10). They also piggybacked contributions from the 3,000 meter steeplechase and javelin – 14 points apiece – into the team title.
CSF needed only three event victories on its way to the championships. Junior Thaddeus Smith captured gold in the 100 meters. He also contributed to a Titan first place finish in the 4x100 meter relay, combining with Luis Matos, Rasaun House and Marcel Espinoza. CSF won the 4x100 for the third consecutive year. Senior Mason Guzman-Sanchez also won the 110 meter hurdles.
Long Beach State, the men’s champion from 2013-16, finished second with 136.5 points. UC Davis placed third with 121 points, its highest showing since 2014.
SYTHE LEADS LONG BEACH STATE WOMEN TO FIRST CROWN
In his 29 years at the helm of the Long Beach State track and field program, head coach Andy Sythe directed the men to seven of the school’s 10 titles.
His women’s squads had finished no better than third at the conference meet. But that all changed in 2008.
Using a late push with key efforts over the last two scored events – the Beach women rallied to win their first Big West championship by two points over UC Santa Barbara 122 to 120.
LBSU picked up 10 points in the high jump with big performances from Bria Palmer and Diana Acholonu. And then, in the final race of the day, the 4x100 quartet of sisters Shalee and Shyann Reynolds, Azaria Hill and Anaya Alexander won the event in 3:40.74. That marked the first time in school history LBSU had won that race at the conference meet.
The climb to the podium included several other crucial performances from the Beach roster. The 4x100 meter relay team won in a school record 44.63 seconds – LBSU’s first conference meet win since 2005.
Alexander, a sophomore, ran a career-best 53.79 to become LBSU’s first conference champion in the 400 meters. She also was just the second in school history break 54 seconds – and the first since 1982.
Junior Courtne’ Davis captured gold in the 200 meters for the second time in her career.
In addition to the four event victories, the Beach showcased important depth as they collected 19 points apiece in the 100 and 200 meters, and 16 in the 400 meters.
UCSB’s 120 points gave the program its second runner-up finish in the last three years, and was tantalizingly close to giving the school its first championship since 2005. CSUN, the 2017 champion, notched 101 points to finish in third place.
SWARBRICK FINISHES CAREER AS THREE-TIME CHAMP
CSUN senior Daniel Swarbrick captured gold in the men’s discus at the Big West meet for the third straight year. He won with a throw of 174 feet, 9 inches, becoming the second Matador to take first place three straight times. Derek Cooper (2008-10) was the first.
TITAN FOURSOME SETS SCHOOL RECORD
A strong contingent of 76 Big West athletes competed in the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, Calif.
A number of impressive performances resulted, including the Cal State Fullerton men’s 4x100 relay team. Building upon their win at the conference meet, the Titan combo of Rasaun House, Thaddeus Smith, Luis Matos and Marcel Espinoza set a school record in 39.86 seconds to finish third in their heat and 10th overall. It was the first sub-40 second race in Titan history, giving the four the reward of competing at nationals – the first CSF representatives in the 4x100 since 2003.
HINKLE BREAKS OWN RECORD IN 1,500 METERS
Another record breaking effort at the NCAA West Preliminary came from UC Santa Barbara senior Jenna Hinkle.
The Gaucho distance standout ran a school record 4:15.39 to finish sixth in her heat and 11th overall in the 1,500 meters. Hinkle eclipsed the 4:16.62 she posted at the Stanford Invitational in 2017. Hinkle received Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Year accolades after achieving a conference first – winning gold in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meter races. She secured the 1,500 meter crown for the second straight year.
HOUSE BUILDS FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE
Cal State Fullerton produced the program’s first Big West Men’s Freshman of the Year since the award began in 2005. Rasaun House played a key role in helping the Titans to their second straight Big West championship in the sprints. He competed in four events, scoring 13 individual points and contributing to 15 more as a member of both relay teams. He finished second in the 200 meters (21.46) and fourth in the 100 meters (10.65). House also participated in the leadoff leg of the victorious 4x100 relay squad, as well as the fourth place 4x400 relay contingent. House’s collegiate debut in the 100 meters resulted in his best performance of the year, a time of 10.44 that led to his selection as Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Week.
BOYAL JOINS CAL POLY DISTANCE FRATERNITY
Senior Swarnjit Boyal became the fifth Cal Poly distance runner to be named Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Year, joining the likes of Ryan Moorcroft (2004), Ben Bruce (2005), Luke Llamas (2006) and Chris Frias (2014). Boyal was the 10th individual in Big West history – and the third from Cal Poly – to double as 5,000 and 10,000 meter champion at the conference meet. He won the 10,000 for the second straight year, achieving back-to-back golds for the first time since Toby Conley of Utah State in 1995 and 1996.
BEACH CONTINUE MONOPOLY ON TOP HONOR
For the fourth straight year – and sixth time in the last eight – Long Beach State produced the Big West Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. Sophomore Jason Smith scored points for his team in the high jump, long jump and triple jump at the conference meet. In the long jump, he finished second with a career-best leap of 25-00.75. He also cleared 50 feet in the triple jump for the first time in his career, finishing fifth overall with a mark of 50-01.75. Smith, the 2017 Big West Freshman of the Year, followed in the footsteps of Kemonie Briggs (2017) and Willie Alexander (2015 and 2016).
BENDER, CLANCY SELECTED BIG WEST ATHLETES OF THE MEET
The 2018 Big West Men’s and Women’s Athlete of the Meet awards went to juniors Hope Bender of UC Santa Barbara and Kyle Clancy of UC Davis. Bender was the conference meet champion in the heptathlon and 400 meter hurdles, and finished third in the 100 meter hurdles.
Clancy conquered gold in the decathlon and high jump, and picked up additional points with his fifth place showing in the 110 meter hurdles.