UCSD Track & Field Dominates At Home

    Last Saturday the UCSD men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted the UC San Diego Collegiate Invitational and gave their guests a glimpse of what Triton hospitality is about, as both UCSD teams grabbed first place overall to sweep the invitational.

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    The women’s team, competing against Cal Poly Pomona, Cuyamaca Community College, Mesa Community College, Point Loma University, California State University at San Marcos and University of Utah, earned a total of 217 points, while second place Cal Poly Pomona was far behind with 145.5 points.

    The men’s team earned 189 points, enough to edge the Cal Poly Pomona men’s team, which came in second with 162 points.

    “”[Both teams’ performances] were dominant,”” said track head coach Tony Salerno. “”It was inspiring.””

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    The UCSD women had finishers in the top 10 in every event, except for 4×100 relay events, in which the team was disqualified. Triton event winners included Meghan Scott in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:27.33, Julie Pope in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 12:03.44, the 4×400-meter relay team with a time of 4:00.34, Sarah Raoufi in the high jump with a jump of 1.60 meters (although teammate Nicole Johnson received second place, also jumping 1.60 meters), Clara Wilson in the long jump with a leap of 5.41 meters, Nicole Johnson in the triple jump event with 10.93 meters, and Erin Selim in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:17.14.

    “”It was a great day on the track,”” Salerno praised.

    Salerno marked Selim’s win as a stand-out performance, characterizing it as an “”easy win.”” Another top performance for the women’s track and field team actually came the day before the UCSD Invitational, when Megan Bergin qualified for the NCAA nationals in the hammer throw at a San Diego State University meet.

    On the men’s side, top UCSD finishers included Jon Wong in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:53.26, James Nielsen in the 1500-meter run beating Wong by half a second with a time of 3:50.3, Nielsen in the 5000-meter run, Steve Pease in the pole vault with a vault of 4.80 meters and Rob Ewanio in the shot put with a throw of 16.05 meters. Pease’s vault was good enough to qualify for the NCAA championship.

    Wong’s time in the 1500-meter events was enough to break the school record, but unfortunately it was for naught, as Nielsen had just enough to finish ahead of Wong and set the record time.

    “”That’s pretty darn real,”” commented Salerno on Nielsen’s achievement. “”Both Nielsen and Wong are two of the best distance runners this school has ever seen.””

    The men’s victory was especially meaningful, as the team had been beaten by Cal Poly Pomona earlier this year.

    “”[This victory] can be a springboard for the championship,”” Salerno said. “”There were some great highlights and really good breakthroughs [in the invitational].””

    According to Salerno, the fact that the Tritons were hosting the invitational gave them a distinct advantage.

    “”I think that being at home helps a lot,”” he said. “”[Also] we were pretty much full force except for a few injuries.””

    Next week, both track and field teams will be heading up north to Claremont to participate in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, which is a mere precursor to the state championships on April 28 and 29.

    “”[The Pomona-Pitzer Invitational] is going to be an individual tune-up,”” Salerno said. “”Mainly just to get prepped for the state championships in the following week.””

    In their first year in Division II, both track and field teams have already qualified more people for the NCAA championships then they had all of last year when they were competing in Division III.

    “”Our athletes have really stepped it up,”” Salerno said. “”We’re pretty excited.””

    Considering their recent success, both track and field teams have every right to be.

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