Track and field sends nine to NCAA Nationals

    The UCSD men’s and women’s track and field teams finished their regular season on May 14 at the Claremont Classic, held at Burns Track and Field complex in Claremont, Calif. Junior Mimi Hodgins and freshman Laiah Blue posted school records in the 800-meter race and 100-meter hurdles, respectively, while senior Kendra Canape finished first in the women’s high jump and junior Carl Lostrom topped his competition to win the men’s steeplechase.

    Greg Dale
    Another hurdle:

    During the Claremont Classic, Hodgins set a new school record in the 800 race. Despite finishing third overall, Hodgins was able to break her own school record, which she had set earlier in the year, and posted a time of 2 minutes, 10.91 seconds.

    “It’s nice to know I’m still PR-ing,” Hodgins said. “I think I have a lot more left in me, and my coach agrees, so it’s a good feeling to have going into Nationals.”

    On May 16, nine UCSD track and field athletes found out that their season was not over. For the women, Hodgins, Blue, Canape, senior Lindsay Stalker, and freshmen Emily McGregor and Whitney Johnson will be representing the Tritons at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Lostrom, junior Mike Cunningham and senior Kevin Beeman made the cut from the men’s squad.

    Despite qualifying in the 800, the 1500 and the 5000 events, Hodgins will only compete in the 800 at Nationals.

    “I’m ranked No. 3 in the 800, and my goal is to win that event,” she said. “I feel that in order to achieve that goal, I need to focus on one event. “

    Stalker took fourth place in the 800 run at Claremont, finishing at 2:11.20. Stalker will compete in the 800 run and the 1500 run at Nationals. She is ranked fourth in the 800, just behind Hodgins, and eighth in the 1500.

    Blue finished the 100 hurdles in 14.11 seconds, tying the school record set during the 2004 season by Meredith Perry. The time is an automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships; she will be one of two freshmen in the nation to compete in the 100 hurdles.

    Sophomore Elisa Holiday took second in the long jump with a mark of 5.72 meters, then secured a third-place finish in the 200 dash with a time of 24.62. In the 1500 run, Hodgins and freshman Dianne Dunn finished fifth and seventh, respectively.

    Canape took first in the high jump competition with her mark of 1.63 meters. Canape used the weekend’s competition as a warmup for Nationals. For the high-jump event, each meet has its own minimum starting height. Normally, the minimum starting height is 4 feet 8 inches, but Canape usually starts around 5-2. At Nationals, the starting height is 5-4, meaning there is no warm-up jump.

    “You have to be on it right away,” Canape said.

    The competition for the women’s high jump will be tight at Nationals. Canape is seeded 12th with her best mark of 5 feet 7.75 inches, but points out that the majority of the other competitors are within an inch and a half of that mark.

    “Considering that the bar goes up two inches after every jump, I’m right in the thick of it,” she said. “What I’m really excited about is that I’ve been jumping consistently close to that height all season, while a lot of the other girls have only jumped it once.”

    For the men, Lostrom won the 3000 steeplechase with a time of 9:24.2. While the time was 15 seconds off his personal best, Lostrom was not worried.

    “This race was a lot more like a workout than a race,” he said. “I’m getting ready for Nationals, and I’m working on different techniques.”

    Lostrom focused on the hurdles and the lap splits during this weekend’s event, and was happy with the way he raced.

    “The things I was working on came out well. I found out this works, this doesn’t work,” he said. “And in terms of looking towardnationals, I’m happy with how it came out.”

    When asked about Nationals, Lostrom said his goal was to race throughout the entire event.

    “I want to be in the thick of it, and duke it out with the other guys,” he said. “I’m not wholly concerned with a certain time or finish. I want those guys to say, ‘Hey, that San Diego guy put on a good fight.’”

    Cunningham finished in fourth place in the 110 hurdles, finishing the race in which he has already qualified for Nationals in 14.48 seconds. Cunningham also qualified in the 400 hurdles for Nationals. His goal for Nationals is to race a low 51-second 400 hurdles and make All-American, which means he will have to finish among the top eight.

    “I hate the 400-meter hurdles with a passion,” he said. “But it’s my focus because I’m better at it. The good thing this year is that there’s one guy who’s way ahead of everybody, but everyone else is really close, like within half a second or so. My main goal is to get second, since the race is wide open.”

    Junior teammate Jon Patton, a junior, took fourth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 53.33 seconds.

    In the jumping events, senior Kevin Beeman took second place in the men’s high jump with his mark of 2.10 meters. For Nationals, Beeman is seeded 10th in the high-jump event.

    The NCAA National Championships will take place in Abilene, Texas, from May 26 through May 28.

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