Triton track speeds by competition

    By the time the dust cleared off the field, the UCSD men’s and women’s track and field teams had come to recognize their growth, with victories against several tough competitors in the San Diego State Aztec Invitational and the UCSD Spring Break Challenge.

    The San Diego State Aztec Invitational was highlighted by several school record-breaking and NCAA provisional qualifying performances for the Tritons, who dominated a number of Division I schools along the way.

    “”There was a pretty broad range of competition, with over 1,000 entries,”” said UCSD head coach Tony Salerno.

    This meet was underscored with potent performances by seniors Jackie Vu in the pole vault and Audrey Sung in the 1,500-meter race, both of whom strove to make a lasting impact at UCSD, and delivered.

    An All-American, Sung’s time in the 1,500-meter race, a red-hot 4:33.50, wowed spectators; her time was not only NCAA provisional qualifying, but also the No. 2 all-time performance at UCSD.

    Sung surged ahead of Division I runners from SDSU and USD, among others, and finished only behind Genevieve Ermeling (4:33.44) of Puro Pro, a club team. Following her lead was Sung’s sophomore teammate Lindsay Stalker, who took sixth (4:47.88).

    “”Solid performances were made in the distance events, especially in the 1,500s,”” Salerno said.

    Vu is another athlete whose exhibition, though ranked seventh at the meet, captured the No. 2 all-time performance at UCSD, and whose jump in the women’s pole vault of 11’5” was a NCAA qualifying performance as well.

    The jumpers were also standouts, with high jumper Briana Hinga’s 5’2” jump taking UCSD’s No. 10 all-time ranking, and Kaylin Siever capturing the No. 8 all-time position with her triple jump of 36’9.75″”.

    Consistently strong performances were also made by thrower Sagrario Hernandez and jumper Kendra Canape, among others.

    The men’s team also made progress, particularly in the sprints, long distance races and throws. This was despite the fact that the “”team was a little tired from finals, and only three-fourths of the team was entered,”” Salerno said.

    Freshmen sprinting teammates C.J. Lawrence and Jon Patton ran side-by-side, securing the ninth and 10th positions in their 200-meter dash heat, clocking in at 22.64 and 22.67, respectively. Freshman Matt Horner finished ninth with a time of 50.62 in the 400-meter race.

    Long distance races were studded with strong Triton performances. The 1,500-meter race saw junior John Morrison and senior Dave Dunbar nab the sixth and eighth places, respectively, with Morrison’s sub-four-minute time of 3:59.48, while Dunbar was similarly apace with a time of 4:01.12.

    The 3,000-meter race also saw breakneck Triton times posted.

    Juniors Neil Kalra and Henry L’esperance came in with times of 8:41.22 and 9:15.27, respectively, resulting in the second- and fourth-place finishes.

    Hans Van Dale’s sixth-place hammer throw of 153’00″”, Abel Aramburo’s 10th-place discus throw of 147’04″” and Brad Libuit’s 11th-place javelin throw of 163’08″” were among the many strong throws of the day.

    The Tritons continued to improve the following week as they hosted the UCSD Spring Break Challenge, which saw the Triton teams each earn first-place honors, while routing several strong foes on their home turf.

    “”It was a really exciting day with a lot of standouts that emphasized the team element,”” Salerno said.

    The men scored 130 points, beating conference rival Cal Poly Pomona, who tallied 125 points. Claremont and Division I UC Riverside were close behind in third and fourth with 115 and 114.5 points, respectively.

    The women’s competition was a narrowly won race, with the host Tritons edging UCR, 214-202. Point Loma Nazarene finished third with 82.5 points. Eight squads were entered in the meet on both sides.

    Individually for UCSD, Sung and Stalker reigned supreme in the distance events.

    Sung capitalized on her training and experience, grasping first in the 1,500 in 4:45.62, just ahead of Stalker, who ran 4:45.76, and further outpaced her opponents in the 5,000 in 17:43.34.

    Stalker won the 800, racing 2:18.53. Close behind, in third place, was her freshman teammate Mimi Hodgins, hustling to the finish with a time of 2:20.70.

    Junior Lillian Gardiner supplemented the Triton distance points total by winning the 3,000 steeplechase in 11:47.63. The freshman duo of Kendra Canape (5’5″”) and Hinga (5’3″”) performed well in the high jump for the second meet in a row, contributing a one-two finish.

    The sprinters continued the strong performances when the UCSD 4×400 relay team won in a speedy 4:00.75.

    Hernandez continued her solid season in the throwing events, emerging victorious in the shotput with a heave of 49’75″” and finishing third in the hammer throw.

    On the other hand, the men’s side made considerable headway with their series of first-place finishes.

    Dunbar won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:26.90, while freshman Mike Cunningham took the 400 hurdles in 53.12.

    Ramon Lerma and Aramburo were Triton champions in the field events, with Lerma posting a 21’11.75″” mark in the long jump and Aramburo tossing 161’3″” in the discus.

    “”A lot of people stepped up and we exceeded our expectations coming into the meet,”” Salerno said.

    The Triton track and field teams will be back in action on April 5 in a quadrangular meet at Point Loma Nazarene facing off against PLNU, Azusa Pacific and CSU Marcos.

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