Track Stars Rival D-I Opposition

Erik Jepsen/Guardian

TRACK AND FIELD — In case there were any doubts, the UCSD’s track-and-field athletes used last weekend to reaffirm they are some of the best to ever pull on a Triton uniform.

Junior sprinter Kelly Fogarty, senior distance runner Daniel Anderson and sophomore thrower Nick Howe all improved on their own school record, highlighting a lively weekend for the entire team. Howe traveled with a small Triton contingent to the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational at UCLA, while Fogerty, Anderson and the rest of the team competed at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

Fogarty bested her records in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, clocking a time of 11.74 in the former and 24.12 in the latter. The times earned her first and second in the events, respectively, as she was surpassed only by Republic of Chad sprinter Kaltouma Nadjina in the 200.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said head coach Tony Salerno. “When you’re running 12-flat or a little under it’s pretty fast, but when you get down to the 11.7s, you’re running with the big girls. That 11.74 is really impressive.”

Anderson broke the school record in the 800 meters only two weeks before — at the Cal/Nevada Championships — but still managed to improve his mark with a victorious time of 1:50.56.

Howe was one of only six Tritons to compete at UCLA’s invitational, a high-profile meet that features Division-I schools from across the country, as well as professional athletes. Far from intimidated, Howe shattered his school record in the javelin throw by six feet with a mark of 220’ 6” to take the gold. The throw gave Howe the top mark in NCAA Division-II thus far this season.

“When you’re [setting a personal best] by six feet, it’s really exceptional,” Salerno said. “Him just being a sophomore shows there’s really no top end for him.”

Also competing at UCLA was senior hurdler Christine Merrill, who ran both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles. She placed sixth and fourth in the events, respectively. Senior thrower Danielle Thu — redshirting this season and competing individually — placed third in the hammer throw while fellow senior Marie Archer placed fifth. Junior thrower Theresa Richards placed eighth in the javelin — an event won by former UCLA All-American Tara Ross.

At Pomona-Pitzer, senior polee-vaulter Donna LaFever won her event with a jump of 12’5.5”, earning a provisional Division-II qualifying mark that should send her to the national championships later this year.

Her sister, junior Stephanie LaFever, placed fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the high jump. The younger LaFever will be one of several Tritons competing at the Mt. Sac heptathlon/decathlon this Wednesday and Thursday.

On the men’s side, senior hurdler Leon Baham took third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.42, then placed sixth in the 110 hurdles. Sophomore jumper Jeffrey Head placed third in the long jump with a mark of 21’ 11.5.”

In the first national poll of the season — released on April 6 — the Triton women were ranked No. 2 in Division-II, while the men stood No. 13 overall.

UCSD now boasts a total of 18 marks — including two national bests — ranking it in the top-10 Division II schools this season.

“We’re excited about both teams,” Salerno said. “But the men’s team has really stepped up recently.”

The Tritons return to action on April 17 at the Soka Peace Invitational, held in Aliso Viejo.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].

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