4 qualify for NCAA

The UCSD track and field teams fielded squads at the All-Cal Challenge, an annual meeting among UC teams, at UC Irvine on March 1 and 2. The women finished second and the men finished fifth against their Division I counterparts.

It was the first meet of the season where Triton athletes could qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II championships in May. UCSD, the only Division II school competing, qualified three women and one man, and also recorded several all-time top-10 marks.

“”We are real pleased,”” said head coach Tony Salerno. “”For us to get that many people with qualifying marks this early, it is really remarkable. We really expect to have qualifiers in April, when they’re a little sharper. It’s good to see them step up to their level of competition.””

The women continued their strong start this season by posting 189 points, barely edging UC Santa Barbara, which had 188 points to take second place. UC Irvine won the competition with 225 points, and UC Riverside and UCLA rounded out the bottom of the field.

Last week the women won the California Collegiate Athletic Association Quadrangular at Cal State Los Angeles.

Audrey Sung’s 17 minutes, 39.02 seconds in the 5,000 meters was good enough for second place, an NCAA qualification and third all-time among UCSD athletes. Sara Allsup posted a 147-2′ mark in the discus, which gave her a third-place finish, an NCAA qualification and the fifth-best throw in school history. Megan Bergin rounded out NCAA qualifying for the day for the women, recording a 152-5 in the hammer throw, also good enough for sixth in competition.

Meredith Perry won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.03 seconds, second-best in UCSD history, but shy of the 14.65 required for NCAA qualification. Clara Wilson had a strong outing for the day, winning the 400-meter hurdles and taking third in the 100-meter hurdles, good enough for UCSD’s seventh all-time. Sagrario Hernandez had the second-best throw in UCSD women’s shot-put history and took fourth in the competition.

“”I can’t say enough about them and how they performed, especially edging Santa Barbara,”” Salerno said. “”And for their top-10 all-time [marks] this early in the season, it’s remarkable.””

On the other side, the men’s team scored 161 points, just behind UC Riverside’s 163 points, to finish fifth. The deciding points came in the last event, the four-by-400 relay, where UC Riverside’s third-place finish pushed the team over the top. UCLA took first with 230 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

Rob Ewanio was the sole event-winner for the Tritons, and his first-place mark of 56-8 3/4 was not only enough to win the shot put, but also qualified him for the NCAA. Mark Gomez and Ryan Vincent added points for the squad, posting the fifth- and sixth-best marks in school history in the pole vault and high jump, respectively.

“”[The results for the men] were good but not great,”” Salerno said. “”The teams we’re competing against have gotten better. UCLA was pretty well-represented. They competed in indoor nationals, so they didn’t bring everybody, but they won pretty handily.””

UCSD will send partial teams to the Benny Brown Invite at Cal State Fullerton this weekend, a nonscoring meet between intercollegiate teams that also features several professional clubs competing, in hopes to add to their list of NCAA qualifiers.