The Road to Pueblo

     

    Seven Tritons from UCSD’s men’s and women’s track and field teams have qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships. The tournament will be held this weekend, May 23 through May 25 at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl in Pueblo, Colo. for the second consecutive season. 

    All of UCSD’s qualifying athletes, with the exception of sophomore sprinter Sabrina Pimentel, will compete in field events. Sophomore Nash Howe and seniors Kiley Libuit and Jessica Miklaski will participate in the javelin. Senior A.B. Shaheen, the Lebanese national record holder, will compete in the hammer throw. Junior Clint Rosser qualified for the pole vault, and freshman Kristin Sato qualified for the triple jump.

    “This year the event will be extremely competitive, one of the most competitive meets since we moved to Division II,” UCSD head coach Tony Salerno said. “But we’re going to see what we can do. In years past, we’ve sent athletes on the women’s side ranked as high as third. We don’t have that group of athletes this season, but anything can happen at nationals.”

    Sophomore Nash Howe is UCSD’s only automatic qualifier, claiming his spot after winning the California Collegiate Athletics Association title with a throw of 221’4”. The CCAA title is the fifth straight CCAA javelin title earned by a Howe sibling, as his older brother, two-time national champion and three-time All-American Nick Howe ‘12, took the previous four titles. Nash Howe qualifies with the fifth seed, where his biggest competition should be the sophomores out of University of Alaska Anchorage, No. 1 seed Cody Parker and No. 2 seed Franz Burghagen. Parker — who placed third at last season’s NCAA championships — leads the field with a personal best of 234’4”.

    In his fifth year at UCSD, senior Kiley Libuit, another Triton legacy, will make his first appearance at the national championships. With the top 20 seeds qualifying, Libuit sneaks in at the No. 20 spot.

    Competing on the women’s side, 2011 All-American, senior thrower Jessica Miklaski makes her third showing at the NCAA Championships with the No. 16 rank. In 2011, Miklaski placed sixth with a throw of 143’2”, and in 2012, she took 10th on a 142’4” mark.

    “Jessica is certainly ready to hit a big throw,” UCSD women’s head coach Darcy Ahner said. “Again, although she’s not ranked too high, if you go in and hit one good throw, then you have a real good chance of making All-American.”

    Also making the cut with the No. 16 rank is senior A.B. Shaheen. Shaheen, competing in the hammer throw, threw his qualifier early in the season at the Soka Peace Invitational.

    Rounding out the men’s field is junior pole vaulter Clint Rosser. Rosser just made the bubble, qualifying for 19th with a mark of 16’3.5” set at the Azusa Pacific Last Chance Qualifier, UCSD’s final meet of the season.

    Added as a last-minute decision, freshman triple jumper Kristin Sato squeezed into the field two days after the NCAA declarations were announced. Sato, named the CCAA Freshman of the Year, qualified with a mark of 39’4” at the Cal-Nevada Championships. The mark was good enough to rank her 22nd in the nation, just two spots ahead of teammate Chantia Justice, who just missed out on qualification.

    Sophomore Sabrina Pimentel will compete in the 800-meter dash for the Tritons. Pimentel goes into the meet ranked No. 15 with a time of 2:10.90, which she clocked at the Pomona-Pitzer meet back in April. Last season, Pimentel, 2012’s All-CCAA Freshman of the Year, went to Pueblo as part of the seventh-place 4×400 team.

    Pimentel will be UCSD’s only representative on the track at the 2013 championships, an oddity for a school with a long tradition of developing strong female sprinters. This season will be the first since 2007 that the UCSD women’s 4×400 relay team has not qualified for the national championships.

    “We’re certainly heavy on field events this year, but [Pimentel] is a great athlete and is going to represent us well,” Salerno said. “She’s a quality competitor at a caliber where she can certainly make it through to the finals.”

    Although the bulk of the Triton qualifiers will enter the meet ranked at the bottom of their events, Salerno says that anything can happen this weekend.

    “I wouldn’t limit any of them,” Salerno said. “Particularly in field events, it’s whoever can put a mark together that day.”

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal