Tritons qualify one competitor for NCAA championship meet, await full list of selected athletes.
After successful first and third-place finishes at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships last Saturday, select members from the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Los Angeles and competed in the Occidental Invitational and Cal State Los Angeles Last Chance Qualifier meets for their last opportunity to qualify for the NCAA championships.
At the Occidental Invitational, the steeplechasers ran their final race of their regular season with solid results. Senior Anneke Kakebeen finished in sixth, breaking her own school record by nearly 13 seconds, with a time of 11 minutes 1.73 seconds. On the men’s side, seniors Mario Flores (9:15.27) and Daniel Franz (9:20.07) improved upon their provisional qualifying times, finishing in 15th and 17th, respectively. Their times also move them up on UCSD’s all-time list.
The women’s 4-x-400 relay team, consisting of senior Sabrina Pimentel, sophomore Jackie Chalmers, senior Ellexi Snover and sophomore Marisa Padilla, also had its last chance to compete at the Occidental Invitational. The team members won their race in 3:46.44, putting them in seventh on UCSD’s all-time list.
The Cal State Los Angeles Last Chance Qualifier elicited record-worthy results from the Tritons as well. Senior Connor Macky finished in first place in the 800-meter run in 1:52.31, tying him for 10th on UCSD’s all-time list. His teammate, sophomore Jared Senese, finished in second with a time of 1:53.53. Both men now hold provisional qualifying times for this event.
On the field, the triple jumpers had equally excellent finishes. Junior Kristin Sato (38-7 1/2) and senior Chantia Justice (38-2 3/4) finished in second and third, respectively. For the men, sophomore Derek Van de Streek won the event with a jump of 45-10.
“I was not able to do as well as I wanted to at Last Chance, but I was privileged to be presented the opportunity to extend my season,” Van de Streek told the UCSD Guardian. “I mainly wanted to support the seniors who may have had their last track meet of their career.”
Also on the field, sophomore Chrissi Carr and junior Megan Benham competed in the pole vault, finishing in first and second, respectively, both clearing the 12-foot mark. Although they had identical measures, Carr won the event because she had fewer fouls. Fifth-year Clint Rosser, one of the main Triton competitors who closed the gap between UCSD and Chico State to give UCSD the win in the CCAA Championships, finished in third with a mark of 14-10.
In the women’s javelin, junior Haley Libuit won the event with a throw of 137-4. Fellow teammate Snover, who also ran at the Occidental Invitational, finished in third with a throw of 128-8. Finishing up the meet for the Tritons, sophomore Savanna Forry finished in second place in the high jump, clearing the 5-4 1/4 mark.
With so many records crushed and provisional qualifying marks met, in addition to the men’s impressive finish at the CCAAs, Van de Streek said that this “is a huge step in the right direction for not only our program, but our university in terms of continuing to establish a tradition and culture of athletic excellence.”
The NCAA will announce the selected athletes competing in the NCAA Division-II Championships next week, with senior Nash Howe qualifying for the third consecutive year in the javelin as the only automatic qualifier for the Tritons. The NCAA championship meet will be held in Allendale, Michigan from May 21 through May 23.