Caraway Among UC San Diego Headliners for This Weekend's Triton Invitational
LA JOLLA, Calif. — Track and field is the perfect sport for Natalie Caraway.
Growing up with two brothers, the senior jumper wouldn’t feel quite right playing an all-female sport. She prefers the family atmosphere of track and field, which will be on full display this weekend as UC San Diego hosts the 2019 Triton Invitational.
“I love that it’s a co-ed sport,” said Caraway. “I love the feeling of having all four years of a male and female sport together. It feels like a big family.”
This weekend’s annual meet will feature nearly 2,000 athletes in action, ranging from Olympians to junior college competitors.
A lot of eyes will be on Caraway, as the senior competes in the high jump and triple jump on Saturday. The Granite Bay, Calif., native is coming off a new personal record in the high jump at last weekend’s Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State, clearing an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 5-feet, 8.75-inches.
Caraway’s previous best was 5’7” set at Point Loma’s Ross and Sharon Irwin Scoring Meet on March 16, after she acknowledged being stuck at 5’6” for nearly her entire Triton career.
The senior also said she prefers competing in the high jump over triple jump because of all the subtle nuances involved, as well as the instant gratification of keeping the bar upright.
“It’s more exciting to clear the bar and see the result,” she said. “High jump is like a huge puzzle of technique. Sometimes you’ll get two techniques spot on, but if something else is off, your whole jump doesn’t work.
“This past weekend was one of the first times I’ve had all those pieces working at the same time.”
As she finishes up her degree in human development with a minor in educational studies, Caraway anticipates pursuing a career as an elementary school teacher following graduation this spring.
“I took an (education studies) class and it was fun,” she said. “I feel like I learned so much.
“It all clicked when I got to go to classrooms. It felt easy since it’s something I really enjoy and not trying to do something beyond my abilities. The further I went into studying education and learning how much can be improved, I really loved it.”
With both the women’s and men's squads currently sitting at No. 17 in the latest USTFCCA Track and Field Rating Index, there’s a lot at stake during the final stretch of the season. This includes hosting the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships May 2-4 and going for team conference titles.
Beyond that, the Tritons have aspirations of sending a large contingent to the NCAA Championships May 24-26 in Kingsville, Texas.
“This is one of the bigger groups we’ve had all excelling at once,” said Caraway. “Our nationals trip has the potential to be one of the largest in numbers we’ve seen in quite a few years.
“All that energy is really cool to see.”
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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