Triton Women Begin Defense, Men Look to Improve on Last Year's Second Place Finish

Leon Baham and the Tritons will take part in the CCAA Championships this weekend in San Francisco.
Leon Baham and the Tritons will take part in the CCAA Championships this weekend in San Francisco.
Courtesy: UCSD

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's and women's teams travel to take part in the CCAA Track & Field Championships this weekend in San Francisco, Calif. The Triton women are the two-time defending conference champions and are looking to secure their third straight title while the men are vying to improve on last year's second place finish. Cox Stadium on the San Francisco State campus will serve as the host venue for the three day event that begins on Thursday with the heptathlon and decathlon.

Head coach Tony Salerno's squads enter the week with some national attention. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has the UCSD women as the No. 1-ranked team in the country while the men currently hold down the No. 14 spot nationally.

Laiah Blue and Whitney Johnson are two of the primary reasons that the Tritons have such a high national ranking. Both juniors have qualified for the NCAA D-II National Championships in two different events. Blue has the third fastest time in the country this season in the 400m hurdles (59.87) while also holding down the second fastest time at the D-II level this year in the 100m hurdles (13.69). Johnson has the second longest mark in the triple jump this year (12.59m) and the seventh longest leap in the long jump at the D-II level (5.83m).

In addition to those phenomenal marks, the Triton have nine others on the women's squad that have posted NCAA D-II provisional qualifying marks.

On the men's side, sophomore Daniel Anderson still has the 10th fastest time this year in the 800 meters, posting a provisional qualifying time of 1:51.60 earlier this season. Freshman Casey Ryan has approached the provisional high jump mark, but has narrowly missed in each meet this year. His best jump of 2.05 meters is just shy of the 2.07 provisional mark that the NCAA has set for D-II.

Additionally, hurdler Khalil Hooper, thrower Elliott Williamson and the 4x400 meter relay teams are close to grabbing NCAA provisional marks and are hoping to do so this weekend.

Following the CCAA Championships, the Triton men and women will take part in the Occidental Invitational on Saturday, May 12. Those who have qualified will then begin preparation for the NCAA D-II Outdoor Track & Field Championships that will be contested in Charlotte, N.C., on May 24-26.