Standout Tritons

    Photo by Haocheng Tang
    Photo by Haocheng Tang

    UCSD concludes regular season at home and prepares for the CCAA Championships.

    Photo by Haocheng Tang
    Photo by Haocheng Tang

    The UCSD men and women’s track and field teams competed in their final regular season meet this past Friday and Saturday at home. With over 1,500 athletes participating, the Tritons still managed to stand out among many elite athletes, including former Olympians and soon-to-be Olympians. This marked the Tritons’ final opportunity to prepare for the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships that will be held next week.

    “This is the perfect springboard to go into … conference championships. … Having elite-level competition — this is the best thing we could have [for] preparing our athletes for the conference meet [next weekend],” UCSD Head Coach Tony Salerno told the UCSD Athletics Department.

    On Friday, the Triton pole vaulters had strong finishes in the open section, with junior Tim Schmidt tying for third with a mark of 15-3. Senior Clint Rosser, who already holds an NCAA provisional qualifying mark for the pole vault, had a solid second-place finish with a 15-9 mark. The next day, Schmidt and Rosser competed again, this time in the invitational section, but did not finish as well as before. On the women’s side, also competing in the open section, freshman Devin Stetson tied for fifth with an 11-7 3/4 clearance. Junior Megan Benham, who competed in the invitational section on Saturday, improved upon her provisional qualifying mark with a 12-1 1/4 mark and 20th-place finish.

    The 1,500-meter races also provided some excitement for the Tritons. Among 85 runners on the women’s side, including many other elite athletes, the dynamic trio consisting of junior Paige Hughes (4:40.50 seconds), junior Corinne Hinkle (4:41.61) and freshman Kristin Semancsin (4:45.89) had high-place finishes of 12th, 14th and 20th, respectively. Junior Tareq Alwafai, who holds a provisional qualifying mark for the 5,000-meter run, ran a personal best of 3:57.06 and finished first in his heat and fourth overall.

    “In terms of the race, everything just kind of lined up for me,” Alwafai told the UCSD Guardian. “I went into it as one of the slowest so that competition was good. Right from the gun, I felt great and slowly worked my way up to the front. With 500 meters to go, I took the lead and gunned it with 400 meters to go, before anyone had a chance to react, leaving limited time for them to catch up which lead to the win. I’m very excited for conference this year; we have a [few] of our heavy hitters injured right now but we have strong athletes to fill in the voids. Also, running in San Francisco will be pretty sweet.”

    On the field, senior Chantia Justice, who already holds a provisional qualifying mark for the triple jump and is among the top-10 all-time prospects for UCSD in that event, continued her dominant season with a jump of 38-6 1/4 jump and a third-place finish.

    Senior Nash Howe, who is still the only Triton automatic NCAA qualifier, had a sixth-place finish in the javelin with a throw of 210-6, very far from his personal best.

    “We did pretty well, and when you step into competition like [this] and you can hold your own, you’re pretty darn happy,” Salerno said.

    With several athletes setting personal records this season, the Tritons look forward to finishing their season well at the CCAA Championships next weekend and hopefully the NCAA championships next month. The CCAA Championships will be held up north in San Francisco.

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