In the Last Leg

The Tritons came out big for the Soka Peace Invitational, held at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California, where UCSD saw 15 Tritons win their individual events.

Cal State San Marcos, Biola University and a few members of the Canadian Olympic team served as the main competition for the Tritons, but the standout on April 20 was 2008 U.S. Olympian discus thrower Ian Waltz. Waltz won the discus throw with a stadium record of 188’10” to beat Triton junior Dane Sandifer, who threw 158’3”.

The second day of competition began well as freshman thrower Nash Howe hurled a personal best in the javelin, with a mark of 192’10” to win the event.

“I had the best practice of my life last week with [head coach Tony Salerno] and that helped tremendously with the mental aspect of things,” Howe said. “But when it all came down to it, there was finally no thinking interfering with my throwing. If I can replicate that again at the [Triton Invitational] this weekend in the face of elite throwers and Division I standouts from across the nation, there’s no doubt in my mind that the automatic qualifying mark for nationals is within reach.”

The throw also moves Nash up from 11th all-time to just fourth in program history. The throw is just 9” short of an NCAA national qualifying mark. Senior team captain Nick Howe — older brother of Nash Howe — won the high jump, clearing 6’3” before attempting 6’7”.

Freshman sprinter Keith Rose also had a personal best in only his second 400m race of the year; he ran a 49.1 second sprint that puts him at ninth all-time at UCSD. Elder sister Jackie Rose, senior sprint captain, meanwhile won the 400m dash on the women’s side with a time of 55.5 seconds with freshman Sabrina Pimentel placing second with a time of 57.75 seconds. Pimentel’s time is good enough to move her up to tenth on the all-time UCSD list.

Senior shot-putter Ryan Eckert kicked in the door with a 51’11” effort to win the event over a 43’9” throw by junior Matthew Endler.

“Well I gotta do at least 53’ at [the Triton Invitational] this coming weekend,” Eckert said. “But really I want to hit 56’ so I can go to NCAA Nationals. At this point in the season I’ve been doing better in practice than in meets, throwing 55’ pretty easily. I just need to translate that easiness into competition and throw big.”

On the Olympic-hopeful side there were several Triton Track wins. With no competition to push the bar up, it was a hard day for jumpers, but alumnus Linda Rainwater won the high jump with a height of 5’7”, several inches below her personal best. Fellow 2011 alumnus Kelly Fogarty also won her event, the 200m dash, with a time of 23.85.

At the Mount Sac meet, senior decathlete Nicholas DeBeaubien logged a great performance, setting a new personal record of 6079 points — just shy of an NCAA National qualifier.

The mark places DeBeaubien to fifth in the CCAA standings. DeBeaubien’s biggest personal records came in the 1500m, where he improved by over 20 seconds, and in the long jump, where he went from 19’6” to 20’6”.

When asked after the meet, Salerno said that the Soka Invitational served as great preparation for the approaching postseason.

“It was a perfect meet for this weekend on a great facility heading into Triton Invitational and conference in the next few weeks,” Salerno said in an email interview.

Next weekend’s Triton invitational will be one of UCSD’s most important meets so far this year. The Invitational will be held this Friday through Saturday, April 28-29 at the UCSD track and field complex.