Track and field holds alumni meet

The UCSD men’s and women’s track and field teams took to the track Saturday for some friendly competition against the UCSD track and field alumni.

Anna MacMurdo

Over 40 alumni competed against the 2002 Triton track team, and with a new format, the Triton alumni were surprisingly close to upsetting the current squad.

The format had the men’s and women’s teams mixed then split into equal teams designated as blue and gold to compete against each other and the alumni. With a little help from past and present Triton coaching staff members competing for the alumni team, the alums were just seven points away from defeating the blue squad.

“”This was a great way to begin the season,”” said freshman Angelo Vargas. “”The alumni performed well. We can use this performance as a team to get better and see where we are in the big picture.””

Anna MacMurdo

In the javelin, Lynne Brinkman scored an all-time record by posting a 132′-8” throw, the longest in school history. In the men’s 100-meter dash Wale Olagunju beat captain Sam Denes by .06 seconds to take the race, proving that the alumni could compete with the younger Tritons.

Another highlight included Meredith Perry’s performance in the 100-meter hurdles as she posted a time of 15.20 seconds, ranking her second in the all-time performances in Triton history.

Senior Megan Bergin recorded a hammer throw of 158′ 11″”, ranking her second all-time in Triton history.

On the men’s side, the top performer was that of sophomore Marcus Keller, whose 45′-10″” triple jump put him fifth all-time among UCSD track and field athletes.

“”Perhaps the biggest benefit of the meet is the chance for our current athletes to meet some of the alumni,”” said head coach Tony Salerno. “”We had over 40 alum show up to compete and help officiate. I think it is really inspiring for our current athletes to put a face to name for the record book.””

When the day was done, the gold team won by 35 points over the blue team, and the Alumni finished a close third, just seven points shy of beating the favored Tritons. For most of the alumni, however, just competing again for their alma mater was enough.

“”A lot of the people on the team are still friends so it was fun to see them and compete against them,”” said alumnus Steven Sorensten. “”Experiences in Triton track gave me a lot of friends and taught me how to interact and how to not interact with people in authority.””

Sorensten went on to comment about how difficult it was to get back on the track in full form; that most of the alumni felt the difficulty of competing due to their age and lack of consistent training.

Few freshman have been added to the squad this year, and performers such as Ryan Vincent, Jeff Conkey and numerous others will determine how far UCSD will go this season.

“”We are definitely a better team than last year on both the men’s and women’s sides because most of the freshman now on the roster are much higher caliber athletes than in the past,”” Salerno said. “”Most of the freshman will be ‘impact’ athletes for us.””

As the Tritons look forward to a long and rewarding season, coach Salerno was quick to note that the team is experiencing no major injuries heading into the major meets. He expects “”to have everybody healthy when it counts for conference championships.””

Another tuneup meet lies ahead for the UCSD teams as they travel to Pomona-Pitzer to face strong competition from Division II opponents.

“”I suspect we will send about 75 percent of our squad to Pomona-Pitzer,”” Salerno said. “”We will likely rest many of our higher caliber people and give some of the new people a chance to compete. The meet at Pomona-Pitzer will be a non-scoring meet with all ranges of competition.””

The team acknowledges that its first real test will be Feb. 23 at Cal State Los Angeles when it faces all the Southern California schools from the CCAA.

“”Cal State Dominguez Hills on the women’s side and Cal Poly Pomona on the men’s side could challenge us,”” Salerno said. “”We know we are better than last year but we really don’t know what they have.””

With bright, upcoming athletes ready to shine, as well as veterans performing at their peak, the Triton men’s and women’s track and field teams look to eclipse their achievements from last year. But as Vargas remarked, it is “”too early to decide.””