'Bittersweet' finale for track

    The Triton track and field team saw its successful season close in a “”bittersweet”” manner, according to UCSD head coach Tony Salerno, at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Track & Field Championships in Modesto, Calif. The May 8 and May 9 meet was characterized by a mixed sense of accomplishment and frustration. UCSD’s women finished fourth, while the men wound up in eighth place.

    Jake Mumm
    Guardian file

    “”We had many highlights, but we came up short in a lot of events,”” Salerno said.

    A particularly powerful performance came when junior Triton All-American Sagrario Hernandez concluded her remarkable season by winning her second conference crown on Friday’s portion of the grueling two-day meet.

    Hernandez had won the hammer throw on May 8 with a heave of 166’5″”. The 2002 All-American and 2002 CCAA runnerup in the shot put then won the shot put on May 9 with a school record toss of 50’4″”. The mark easily eclipsed the previous record she already held.

    Jake Mumm
    Guardian file

    “”The competition was finished after that — no one came within six feet of her mark — it was one of the most dominant performances I have seen,”” Salerno said.

    The only other Triton event winner was freshman Kendra Canape, who won the high jump on May 8 with a height of 5’5″”.

    Nevertheless, the valiant efforts of other teammates also contributed to the strong UCSD women’s showing at the meet.

    High scores abounded. UCSD discus thrower Sara Allsup earned third with a throw of 143’10″”, while Meredith Perry captured fourth place in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking in at 14.89. UCSD also came in fifth in the women’s 4×400 relay with a time of 4:00.93.

    Triton distance runners also distinguished themselves with two-time All-American Audrey Sung battling illness and the competition to place fourth in the 1,500 with a time of 4:41.26, while Lindsay Stalker took seventh in the 800, timing in at 2:21.64.

    “”Sung was a real force, but she was a little off due to sickness,”” Salerno said.

    Illness sapped the strength of many on the UCSD track team, especially on the men’s side, but many stars shone despite the rainy weather that bogged down many events.

    Mike Cunningham was one of the stars; he had a duo of third-place finishes in the hurdles. In the 110 hurdles, Cunningham took third with a time of 14.84, while in the 400 hurdles, Cunningham also took third, clocking in at 53.58.

    UCSD also commanded a momentous performance in the 4×100 relay with a second place showing that timed in at 42.16.

    “”UCSD is not known for its sprints, so this makes a big statement,”” Salerno said.

    Other sprint events had good performances, such as the sixth- and seventh-place finishes of UCSD’s Trevor Takayama and C.J. Lawrence, who raced in at 11.09 and 11.10, respectively, in the 100 dash.

    Many top runners, jumpers and throwers were sick or injured, and their performances correspondingly suffered.

    Butch Lerma and Lawrence were injured, and Lawrence actually pulled both of his hamstrings, but they did “”everything they could”” to give their best effort, according to Salerno.

    The CCAA Championships drew large numbers of top California talent with the first five events held on May 8; the remaining five took place on May 9.

    “”The facilities were adequate, it was a bit rainy and just an overwhelmingly big meet,”” Salerno said.

    The top three finishers in each event earned All-CCAA honors.

    Final women’s team scores emerged with UC Davis at top, a first place with 220.5 points, Chico State second with 142, CSU Stanislaus third with 105, UCSD fourth with 101.5, CSU Los Angeles fifth with 83, CSU Dominguez Hills sixth with 73.7, San Francisco State seventh with 49, Cal Poly Pomona eighth with 37, and Sonoma State tied at ninth with CSU Bakersfield with 23 points.

    Men’s team scores also had Davis in first with 237.5 points, Chico State second with 155, Cal Poly Pomona third with 98, Stanislaus fourth with 67, Bakersfield fifth with 66.5, San Francisco State sixth with 66, CSULA seventh with 61 and UCSD eighth with 59 points.

    Despite the lackluster performances in several areas, Salerno remains generally optimistic about the team’s overall impact and future.

    “”Maturity definitely helps, and the freshmen and sophomores did as expected, with our youth and direction we are very excited about the future,”” Salerno said.

    With main rival UC Davis jumping to Division I next year, this will hopefully leave UCSD with a vacancy that its continued determination and progress can fill.

    “”The season is not over in a lot of ways,”” Salerno said.

    Some team members have already begun to train for next season, and on May 22, the NCAA Division II Championships are slated to begin at 11 a.m. in Edwardsville, Ill., for several UCSD standouts.

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