Track Stars Rack Up Records In Aliso Viejo

    Erik Jepsen/Guardian

    TRACK & FIELD — With the UCSD Triton Invitational slated for next weekend — a meet that attracts an elite, international field of teams — the Triton track-and-field team did some fine-tuning at the Soka Peace Invitational on April 17 to prepare for the season’s home stretch.

    UCSD had a phenomenal week on the track: Seven individual athletes recorded times ranking among the 10 best in UCSD history. The Tritons also broke several stadium records, including a run by junior Kelly Fogarty that bested the mark of current U.S. Olympian Carmelita Jeter.

    “In the last two or three weeks, I really feel we’ve put all the pieces in place to head into our conference championships,” women’s coach Darcy Ahner said. “On both sides — men and women — we’re really ready, and I think the team feels it too. The momentum is there, and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

    Earlier in the week, on April 15, senior Linda Rainwater set a new school record in the heptathlon at the Mt. SAC/California Invitational heptathlon. Rainwater, who is the 2008 Division-II national champion in the event, topped her previous record of 5,303 points with a fifth-place finish of 5,333 points. Junior Stephanie LeFever also competed in the event, tallying a personal best of 5,193 points.

    Rainwater posted another school record of 5’ 10.5” in the high jump at the heptathlon. The mark fell just one-fourth of an inch below the personal best of Coach Ahner, who is a former Western Athletic Conference athlete of the year.

    “I told her she has six inches to go, since she’s six inches taller than me,” Ahner said. “But I’m just joking about that. She’s just a few points short of my best score in the heptathlon, too, and she’s going to bust right through both of those marks and go right past me. It’s really fun to see that.”

    At the Soka meet, Fogarty and senior Christine Merrill blasted past their competition in the 100-meter dash: Fogarty finished first in 11.75 seconds and Merrill took second at 11.94 seconds. Fogarty’s time broke the stadium record set by U.S. Olympian Jeter, the world’s second fastest woman ever in race. The mark made Merrill a NCAA Division-II provisional qualifier — meaning she could be qualified for as many as seven events at the NCAA Division-II Championships, just over a month away.

    Senior Leah Murphy was another Triton headliner, comfortably winning the long jump with a mark of 19’ 1.25”. The jump was the third farthest in UCSD history, and a NCAA Provisional Qualifier. Sophomore Caitlin Meagher took her first foray into the Triton record books with a time of 14.79 in the 100 hurdles, placing her ninth in UCSD history.

    Already holding the school record in the 800-meter race, Senior Daniel Anderson ran the 400-meter this week in 48.91 seconds — the seventh best time in Triton history. Senior Leon Baham also dominated the 400-meter hurdles, winning by nearly two seconds.

    In the UCSD Triton Invitational on April 23, the Tritons will compete against top-notch talent from across the country — including athletes from Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and other UC campuses. The Tritons will also host the CCAA Championships two weeks later on May 6.

    “The Triton invite looks to be a really exciting meet, just looking at the caliber of athletes that are coming,” Ahner said. ”We’ve got a week off to get rested up and ready to go, and then we’re at home again — so we really could not ask for a better situation.”

    Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].

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