Tritons impress at Rossi Relays

    The men’s and women’s track and field teams kicked off their season on Feb. 25 at the Rossi Relays, which were hosted by Claremont College in Claremont, Calif. Both teams had solid showings, with multiple finishers in the top half of each event. Between the two teams, 14 performances were among the top 10 in UCSD history.

    Andrew Mo/Guardian

    The women’s team had an exceptionally strong showing, gathering two NCAA qualifying cuts in the first meet. Senior Kendra Canape, who won the 2003 CCAA Championship in the high jump, broke the former school record of 5-6, set by teammate Kelsey Turner during the 2004 season, and met the NCAA qualifiying mark with her jump of 5-7 3/4. Canape shared her first-place finish with Helke Siener from Point Loma and Alexandia Church of Univeristy of San Diego. Turner finished fourth.

    Freshman Laiah Blue received her NCAA qualifying mark in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.32 seconds in the third-fastest time in school history. She finished fourth at the Rossi Relays, behind three All-American hurdlers from University of Southern California. Freshman Kaylin Siever was quick behind her, finishing sixth with a time of 15.09.

    Freshman Whitney Johnson made first place in the triple jump, with a mark of 38-10 1/4, and made an NCAA provisional qualifying cut. Johnson also received first place in the long jump, with a mark of 18-5 that tied the Rossi Relays’ meet record. Sophomore Elise Holiday finished second in the long jump, with a mark of 17-10 1/4. Holiday also silvered in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.39, just 0.22 seconds away from first place. For long-distance events, Emily McGregor finished third in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:25.25.

    In the relays, the women’s distance medley — composed of juniors Mimi Hodgins and junior Gina Merchant, freshman Diane Dunn and senior Lindsay Stalker — dominated among the other schools, finishing with a time of 12:02.14, over 18 seconds before second-place USC. The 4×100-meter relay — made up of Blue, Holiday, junior Aileen Sabio and freshman Amber Green — earned a second-place finish with a time of 48.01, 0.23 seconds away from breaking the school record.

    On the men’s side, juniors Jon Patton and Mike Cunningham posted NCAA provisional qualifying times for the 110-meter hurdles. Coming in after two USC runners, Patton and Cunningham finished third and fourth, respectively, posting times of 14.73 and 14.75. Patton also earned a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, an event in which he previously held the meet record, with a time of 53.59, trailing the second-place finisher by 0.15 seconds.

    Senior Kevin Beeman also stood out from the crowd with his high jump mark of 6-8, the second-best height ever achieved by a Triton. For the throwing events, junior Brad Libuit posted a second-place throw for the javelin with a mark of 57.02 meters. The men’s 4×100-meter relay — consisting of junior CJ Lawrence and Matt Borzage, freshman Todd Bettisworth, sophomore Alex Hesselgesser — finished second with a time of 42.68, trailing first-place finisher USC by two seconds. The 4×400-meter relay — made of Bettisworth, Cunningham, Borzage and sophomore Dan Noel — finished fourth at the Rossi Relays, and earned higher distinction by posting the sixth-fastest time in UCSD history.

    The Rossi Relays was the first meet for both teams this season, as the annual Blue/Gold Alumni meet was canceled due to rain. The season will continue on March 5 at the All-California Championships at UC Irvine. The Tritons’ next home meet will be the San Diego City Championships, to be held on March 12.

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