With nothing but blue skies above and a cheering section packed full of the Triton faithful, the UCSD track and field team made the March 10 San Diego City Championship a meet to remember.
After traveling to other schools for the first two meets of the year, the Tritons returned home to host the meet at the Triton Track and Field Stadium.
At the meet, UCSD squared off against San Diego State University, the University of San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University and Cal State San Marcos.
The Tritons showed they weren’t going to show their guests any extra courtesy, with the men’s team winning first place out of three teams and the women’s team coming in at a close second behind San Diego State.
Junior distance runner Diane Dunn acknowledged the impact that playing at home had on the team.
“”Being at home always gives us an extra edge,”” Dunn said. “”It’s also nice to have so many friends and family there to support us.””
The men, who had not won a meet championship all year, used their home-field advantage to dominate the opposition, finishing 61.5 points ahead of second-place Point Loma Nazarene University. Highlighting the men’s performances was junior hurdler Khalil Hooper’s 100-meter hurdle victory and senior hurdler Jean-Claude Inauen’s first-place finish in the 400 hurdles.
The freshman performances showed promise for the Tritons’ future. Freshman jumper Chris Yu’s distance of 6.66 meters in the long jump was enough to earn first, and was Yu’s third win of the season.
Another freshman, thrower Fred Cook, took home the gold in the hammer throw with his distance of 48.87 meters.
Yu understands that a lot of attention is given to the younger Tritons, but he is not letting it get to him.
“”We have a really young team with a lot of freshman,”” Yu said. “”But there’s still a lot of seniors around, so we have to keep learning from them. We’re still getting adjusted to college life, so they really help us.””
One of the most intriguing stories of the day was that of freshman jumper and hurdler Casey Ryan. Ryan is also a member of the UCSD basketball team, whose season just ended, allowing him to work with the track and field team full time.
While his other track teammates were able to hone their skills with two previous meets, the March 10 competition was the first of Ryan’s collegiate career. With the midday sun beating down on the track, Ryan twice attempted to match the all-time UCSD high jump record of 6 feet, 11 inches, set two years ago by Kevin Beeman. Ryan narrowly missed on each try, and in the end had to settle for a height of 6 feet, 8.75 inches.
While not a record-setting post, it guaranteed him a first-place finish for the day. With such promising potential, it seems likely that Ryan will soon set some records of his own.
Although the lady Tritons finished a mere 13.5 points behind the first-place San Diego State Aztecs, their day was unprecedented, setting three all-time school records.
Junior hurdler Laiah Blue continued her romp through the UCSD records by posting a time of 13.85 seconds in the 100 hurdles. Blue has won at least one event in every meet this season and shows no signs of letting up.
Fresh off a first-place finish at last weekend’s All-Cal meet, junior jumper Whitney Johnson secured herself a spot in the Triton record book with her distance of 40 feet, 7.5 inches in the triple jump.
Rounding out the record-setting day was the relay team of Blue, junior Amber Green, sophomore Katie Skorupa and freshman Christine Merril, who crossed the finish line in the 4×400 relay in 47.32 seconds.
Senior thrower Torrey Trust, who took first in the javelin throw, thought the March 10 meet might have come with some extra incentives.
“”It was parent’s night right before the meet, so we had a huge crowd for Saturday,”” Trust said. “”I think everybody stepped up their game a notch to impress their parents.””
The Tritons look to carry over their performance to the next local event, the San Diego State Aztec Invitational on March 17.