UCSD goes to nationals

    UCSD senior distance runner Audrey Sung, senior discus thrower Sara Allsup and junior shot put/hammer thrower Sagrario Hernandez successfully posted top-six finishes in their respective events to each earn All-American recognition at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Edwardsville, Ill. It was a grueling three-day event hosted by Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville on May 22 through May 24.

    Courtesy of UCSD Athletics

    “”We performed extremely well with our three outstanding athletes,””

    said Triton head coach Tony Salerno.

    Sung, a distance standout, finished fifth in a quick 3,000-meter final with a time of 9:46.28 on May 23. She provided the third-best qualifying time during May 22’s preliminaries. Her finals time was over seven seconds faster than her season-best qualifying time entering the meet (9:53.59), as well as her time from May 22’s prelims (9:53.32).

    Sung was already a two-time All-American in the 3,000, with fifth and sixth-place finishes over the last two years, respectively, and she triumphed as an All-American performer again this season. Freshman Yuliya Stashkiv of Abilene Christian University won the 3000 in 9:39.94, roughly five seconds ahead of Sung, proving how tight the competition was. Salerno sang Sung’s praises.

    “”Audrey was awesome,”” Salerno said.

    Sung followed up this performance with a ninth-place finish in the 5,000-meter in a time of 17:08.02. She narrowly missed out on All-American honors, since the top eight finishers earn that distinction. Amber Klein, a senior out of Adams State College, was the top finisher in the 5,000, running 16:48.62.

    Sung had broken the UCSD school record in the 5,000 earlier this season with a time of 17:00.26, a mark earned at the difficult Mt. San Antonio College relays in mid-April. She concludes her prolific UCSD career as a three-time All-American in track in the 3,000 and a one-time cross country All-American.

    Hernandez, who had already garnered All-American recognition with a sixth-place finish in the hammer throw on May 22, provided another sixth-place effort, this time in her premier event — the shot put. Her toss of 46’3.25″” was achieved on the fifth of her six tosses.

    Hernandez entered the NCAA Championships as an All-American in the shot put a year ago and this year’s California Collegiate Athletic Association champion and school record holder in both the shot put and the hammer throw. Her mark of 50’4″” in the shot put at the 2003 CCAA Championships bettered her own school standard by just under a foot, even as she fought off an injury.

    “”Sagrario had a pretty bad injury, which may have held her back

    in shot, but she toughed it out,”” Salerno said.

    Allsup returned to action on May 24 in her specialty — the discus. Allsup soared to victory on the second of six throws, with a sixth-place finish that earned her All-American honors.

    “”Sara Allsup was tremendous. These were her best throws thus far,”” Salerno said.

    Allsup was a 2002 All-American in the event with an eighth-place finish. Allsup improved on her performance at nationals from last year, earning All-American recognition for a second consecutive year with a mark of 152’4″”. Allsup had come in eighth at the 2002 NCAA Championships, throwing 147’6″”.

    Adriane Blewitt, a senior at Ashland University, finished off a spectacular meet by winning the discus. Her mark of 181’1″” was a new NCAA Division II record and easily outdistanced her from runner-up Kortney Ihnen, a senior from Minnesota-Mankato who posted 157’10″”. Blewitt also finished second in the hammer throw on May 22 and won the shot put comfortably with a mark of 57’6.50″”, the new NCAA Division II record.

    “”It was a very competitive meet with a relatively low number of athletes. It was pretty much a home run for us,”” Salerno said.

    The three athletes prepared for the important meet with reduced throws and running mileage.

    “”Rest and mental preparation helped them shake off some nerves,”” Salerno said.

    Through the first two days of the NCAA Championships, the Tritons

    tied for eighth place with two other schools, with 10 points.

    By May 23, UCSD was the top CCAA school at the meet on the women’s side, with UC Davis the closest at 8.5 points, after seven events have been completed.

    At the end of the meet, the Tritons as a team finished 20th with 13 points. Six of those points came from Hernandez in the hammer and shot put, with four points

    coming from Sung and three from Allsup. Lincoln University accumulated 98 points to take home the gold trophy with St. Augustine’s College finishing second with 67 points and North Dakota State totaling 56 points for third place.

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