at 36th Annual Aztec Invitational
Friday, March 28 • 8 a.m. (M/W Open/Invitational Hammer Throw Only)
UCSD Throwing Field • La Jolla
Friday, March 28 • 9:30 a.m.
SDSU Sports Deck • San Diego
Saturday, March 29 • 9 a.m.
SDSU Sports Deck • San Diego
Coming off of a break for final exams, the UC San Diego men’s and women’s track and field teams return to competition this weekend with the 36th Annual Aztec Invitational, hosted by San Diego State University at the SDSU Sports Deck across town. The Tritons take part in the final two days of the three-day meet. UCSD will in fact host the men's and women's open and invitational hammer throw events being at the UCSD Throwing Field starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 28. The action at SDSU gets underway at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday. One marquee event to look for is the men's invitational javelin on Saturday at 3 p.m., with Triton All-American Nash Howe going up against a stacked field that includes Oregon junior Sam Crouser, the third-place finisher at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. Live results are available at Flash Results West.
Admission to the Aztec Invitational is free. Spectator entry to the hammer competitions at UCSD is also free of charge. There is a charge, however, for parking at both venues.
About 1,270 collegiate and unattached athletes from 27 institutions and 53 track clubs, including nine from Mexico and the Olympic Training Center, will be competing alongside about 170 athletes from 10 high schools. The list of colleges and universities UCSD is expected to be competing against include Academy of Art, Air Force (men only), Azusa Pacific, BYU, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Dominguez Hills (women only), Cal State L.A., Cal State San Marcos, Central Washington (men only), Chaffey College, College of Idaho, Concordia Irvine (women only), Cuyamaca College, Grand Canyon, Oregon, Palomar College (women only), Riverside Community College, San Bernardino Valley College, University of San Diego, San Diego State (women only), San Diego Mesa College, Soka, Southwestern College, UC Colorado Springs, UNLV (women only) and USC.
TRITON WOMEN WINNERS AS FIRST-TIME ALL-CAL HOSTS
In Triton Track & Field Stadium's first turn as host of the All-Cal Championships after previously being held in Irvine, the UCSD women (221 points) earned their first title over Division I fellow UC system schools UC Santa Barbara (189), UC Irvine (122) and UC Riverside (76) since back-to-back successes in 2008 and 2009. The Triton men (179) placed second behind UCSB (214). UCSD women won six of the 19 events, with the men adding five first-place efforts. In his 2014 debut, Nash Howe earned the lone automatic NCAA qualifier among Triton competitors, already booking his trip to Michigan in May with a first-place javelin toss of 218'10". Sophomore Haley Libuit won the javelin on the women's side with her first career provisional mark of a personal-best 135'2". Carlos Bojorquez (1500), Mario Flores (3000 Steeple) and Chantia Justice (triple jump) also turned in provisionals.
WASHED OUT IN WEEK TWO
UCSD was supposed to compete in its second meet of the 2014 season on Saturday, March 1, but the Pomona Preview, co-hosted by Cal Poly Pomona and Mt. San Antonio College at Mt. SAC in Walnut, was cancelled due to inclement weather.
ROSSI RELAYS REVIEW
UCSD had a strong showing at the Rossi Relays on Saturday, Feb. 22. Among many notable performances were three Tritons who became provisional qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. Returners Chantia Justice and Kristin Sato finished 2-3 in the triple jump with marks of 38'7.5" and 38'6.75", respectively. Junior newcomer Anthony Capitulo took first place in the javelin, throwing a distance of 197'6", putting him at No. 5 on the program's all-time list. The only other individual first-place finish for the Tritons was by true freshman Markus Woods, who clocked in at 55.89 in the 400 hurdles.
MARQUEE HOME SCHEDULE
UCSD hosts five meets at Triton Track & Field Stadium in La Jolla in 2014. Headlining the home schedule are the top two meets on the Tritons' annual calendar in the lead-up to the NCAA Championships, those being the Cal-Nevada Collegiate Championships, April 4-5, and the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships, May 1-3. This will mark the second straight year that UCSD hosts one of the premier college track and field events on the West Coast in the Cal-Nevada Championships. La Jolla awaits the CCAA meet for the first time since 2010.
HOWE TO THROW YOUR JAVELIN
For the sixth season in a row, the Triton men's javelin contingent will be led by a student-athlete with the last name of Howe. Nash Howe comes off of his All-America sophomore campaign as the seventh-place finisher at his first national meet and first-time champion at the conference level. He took over as the CCAA javelin champ for his older brother, Nick Howe, now in his second year as a volunteer assistant coach on the UCSD staff while he continues to train on campus toward an Olympic run for Rio 2016. Nick was a two-time national champion, three-time All-American and four-time CCAA champion from 2009-12. He holds the school javelin record at 231'3", with Nash chasing his older brother in second at 221'4". The younger Howe made his season debut last Saturday in La Jolla at the All-Cal Championships, and already booked a second straight trip to the NCAA Championships with an automatic qualifier of 218'10". The Triton coaching staff is also preparing him for beyond, looking ahead to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, June 26-29.
Sabrina Pimentel is in her junior season after two previous years of impressive performances. As a freshman, Pimentel achieved All-American status running the opening leg of the seventh-place 4x400 relay (3:45.17) after the Triton foursome ran to a school record-breaking time of 3:42.17 in prelims at the NCAA Championships, as well as becoming CCAA champion in the same event. Pimentel also put her name in the record books during her sophomore season (2013) in both the 400 and 800. With a time of 55.95, she garnered the third-fastest 400 in school history, and moved up to second on UCSD all-time top-10 list in the 800 (2:10.90). Her performance in the 800 qualified her for the NCAA Championsips where she finished ninth with a time of 2:13.35.
Senior Clint Rosser is coming off of an impressive junior season in the pole vault. In 2013, he won the pole vault at the Azusa Pacific Last Chance Qualifier, clearing a personal-best height of 16’3.5”. The mark, No. 3 all-time in program history, allowed the Westchester (Loyola HS) native to reach and compete in the NCAA Championships. Prior to that competition, Rosser earned the NCAA Elite 89 award for Division II men’s outdoor track and field for having the highest grade-point average (3.97 in environmental engineering) among athletes who made it to the NCAA Championships. He then moved 10 slots up form his No. 19 seed and narrowly missed out on becoming an All-American with a ninth-place showing (16'2.75").
SATO AND JUSTICE JUMPING TO THE TOP
Junior Chantia Justice and sophomore Kristin Sato excel for the Tritons in the jumps. In the 2013 season, Justice finished in the top-8 for both the high jump and the triple jump at the CCAA Championships. At the 2012 All-Cal Championships, Justice reached a mark of 5'1" in the high jump, giving her a fourth-place finish. During her freshman campaign, Sato had an impressive year, particularly in the long jump and the triple jump. At the CCAA Championships, Sato finished third in the long jump (17'9.4") and first in the triple jump (39'5.2"), contributing to her CCAA Freshman of the Year award. Sato's mark in the triple jump also qualified her for the NCAA Championships, where she finished 18th overall (38'8.75").
ROSE TO THE OCCASION
Junior sprinter Keith Rose is the school record-holder in both the 100 and 200 meters, and the reigning CCAA champion in the 100. He placed third in the 200 last season and led off the third-place 4x400 relay. Rose has broken the school mark in both individual sprints twice each. He broke the 100 standard in both prelims (10.71) and finals (10.62) at the 2013 CCAA Championships in Turlock last May. Rose first took over the 200 mark as a freshman (21.59) and lowered it in prelims (21.57) at the 2013 CCAA meet. He is the younger brother of former Triton All-American Jacqueline Rose (2009-12).
UCSD has three All-Americans on its 2014 roster. Junior Nash Howe earned All-America honors with a seventh-place finish in the javelin a year ago in his debut at the NCAA Division II Championships. Junior Sabrina Pimentel and senior Lauren Irish are All-Americans from the 2012 season, when they made up half of UCSD's seventh-place 4x400 relay. Pimentel competed at the 2013 NCAA Championships as well, in the 800 meters. Remaining returners who made the 2013 NCAA field are senior pole vaulter Clint Rosser and sophomore Kristin Sato, the 2013 CCAA Freshman of the Year, in the triple jump. Pimentel and Rosser both fell narrowly short of All-America status with ninth-place finishes in their respective events.
RECENT CCAA HISTORY
UCSD is coming off of a fourth consecutive second-place finish at the CCAA Championships on the women's side, all behind Chico State. The Triton men have produced three successive third-place efforts, with Chico State now the 10-time defending league champion. UCSD was 11.33 points back of second-place Cal Poly Pomona in Turlock in 2013. Triton Track & Field Stadium will serve as host of the 2014 CCAA Championships. The Triton men and women both placed second behind Chico State the last time the meet was held in La Jolla in 2010. That runner-up showing, by a mere 2.83 points (212.33-209.5), snapped a run of five consecutive conference titles for the UCSD women.
FOUR CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
Nash Howe (javelin), Kellen Levy (10000), Keith Rose (100) and Kristin Sato (triple jump) are returning CCAA champions from 2013. All told, there are 14 Tritons on the 2014 roster who produced top-three finishes in at least one individual event at the 2013 CCAA Championships. They are Howe (1st, javelin), Levy (1st, 10000), Rose (1st, 100; 3rd, 200), Sato (1st, triple jump, 3rd, long jump), Lorato Anderson (2nd, 800), Megan Benham (3rd, pole vault), Veronica Bradley (tied 3rd, high jump), Sean Cook (2nd, long jump), Daniel Franz (2nd, steeplechase), Eva Isaacs (2nd, shot put), Chantia Justice (2nd, triple jump), Sabrina Pimentel (2nd, 400), Clint Rosser (3rd, pole vault) and Julia Wildenthaler (3rd, triple jump). Pimentel and Lauren Irish were on the third-place women's 4x400 relay, while Rose, Nate Ford and David Guinasso were part of the third-place men's 4x400.
CCAA FRESHMEN OF THE YEAR
UCSD swept the men's and women's CCAA Freshman of the Year awards a year ago, with rookie field standouts Sean Cook and Kristin Sato earning the distinctions. Sato won the triple jump and placed third in the long jump, while Cook was second in the long jump, sixth in the high jump and 11th in the triple jump. Sato went on to warrant a late addition to the NCAA field, where she placed 18th at her first nationals in the triple jump.
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After this weekend's Aztec Invitational, UCSD will host the Cal-Nevada Championships for the second year in a row, Friday and Saturday, April 4-5, at Triton Track & Field Stadium.