Such Great Heights

TRACK & FIELD — The Tritons started their season strong at a home meet against San Diego State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Clairemont-Mudd-Scripps on Feb. 20. The team claimed victory on both the men and women’s sides of the competition — the men totaled 152 points, and the women 213.

UCSD athletes hit 10 marks that were either provisional or automatic qualifying marks for the NCAA Division-II Regional Championships.

“We were pretty scared,” head coach Tony Salerno said. “We were third in the nation last year, but we graduated some and we are redshirting some. We were amazed at how many qualifiers we had for the first meet of the year.”

Some of last year’s best female performers continued to shine, getting the season off to an encouraging start. Junior Stephanie LeFever had an outstanding day, tying the school record in the long jump with her mark of 6.06 meters. She also placed second in the 100-meter hurdles, and fifth in the javelin throw.

Seniors Christine Merrill and Linda Rainwater — both defending national champions — dominated their respective events. Merrill won both the 400- and 100-meter hurdles, and Rainwater placed first in the high jump. Rainwater also finished third in the javelin, fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and ran on the winning 4×400 relay team.

Junior Kelly Fogarty led the way for the sprinters, placing first in both the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.92 seconds and the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.78 seconds. Her performance in the 100-meter barely missed beating her own record of 11.85 seconds.

In the throwing events, junior Theresa Richards set a personal best in the javelin throw with a mark of 136’3”, winning the event by nearly 10 feet. Senior Marie Archer easily won the hammer throw and placed third in the discus throw.

On the men’s side, reigning conference champion and senior Leon Baham won both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles, and anchored the Tritons’ 4×400 relay team. Baham’s time of 53.67 in the 400-meter hurdles met the NCAA provisional qualifying time.

Photos by Erik Jepsen/Guardian

The Tritons placed especially well in the sprinting events, winning the 100-meter, 400-meter and 4×100 races. Sophomores Dan Nguyen and Tobi Haswell won the 100-meter and 400-meter races respectively, and were joined by senior Will Dyer and freshman Erik Frost on the winning relay team.

Sophomore Nick Howe — the reigning California Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year — easily won the javelin throw with his mark of 188’10.”

Even though the meet was successful for both squads, Salerno said he still sees room for growth.

“They were pretty nervous, and a lot of it was that the expectations were so high for both the men and women,” said Salerno. “I think that the athletes that underachieved were just having early season jitters.”

Salerno said he has high expectations for the team this season.

“On the men’s side, it’s to win the conference, and that’s going to require beating Chico,” he said. “For the women, it’s to win our sixth straight conference title. It’s always harder to stay on top than it is to get there.

The Tritons will travel to UC Irvine this Saturday to compete in the All-Cal Championships.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].