LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men’s and women’s track and field programs turned in three NCAA provisional marks and six point-scoring efforts, and advanced seven individuals into finals, with two as top qualifiers, on the first day Friday of the 2014 Cal-Nevada Championships.
UCSD is hosting the annual two-day event for the second consecutive year at Triton Track & Field Stadium. This is the 21st running of the Cal-Nevada meet.
The UCSD men are tied with three other teams for third through five events at 15 points. Long Beach State tops 17 scoring squads with 48 points. The Triton women are fourth with 19 points through six events. Three-time defending champion San Diego State, currently ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Division I, comfortably leads 18 other scoring teams with 83 points.
“We had a great first day,” said UCSD men’s head coach Tony Salerno. “Both the men’s and women’s distance squads in particular really performed well today.”
Sophomore Paige Hughes, a San Diego native out of Valhalla High School and Cuyamaca College, won the 10000 meters in the evening, running 37:04.59 to lead a 1-5-6 Triton finish that accounted for all 19 of their points. Hughes completed the longest race of the meet more than 15 seconds ahead of SDSU’s Grace Hanshaw (37:20.17), and is now fifth on the UCSD chart. Junior teammate Madison Tanner (37:58.17) and sophomore Chandler Colquitt (37:58.20) were behind her.
Randy Copeman, like Hughes a sophomore, achieved a personal-record distance of 23’1.75” to place sixth for four points in the men’s long jump, putting him at seventh all-time in program history.
Scott Acton was third for the men in the 10000 (31:09.07) and sophomore Tareq Alwafai was sixth in the 5000 (14:41.20) for 11 more points together. Acton’s lifetime best has him up to fifth from sixth in Triton history. Alwafai’s mark was a season best by more than 38 seconds and in fact a personal record that pushed him from No. 8 to No. 6 at UCSD all-time.
Triton junior Keith Rose went neck-and-neck for the duration of 100 meters in the fourth preliminary heat with Sacramento State’s Evan Meehan, and crossed .02 seconds ahead in 10.76, just .01 seconds off of his season best. That time advanced him into finals as the number-one qualifier. He will thus be in lane five at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday. Emmanuel Elijah went a season-best 11.09 for fourth in his prelim heat but missed out on the final in 14th.
Rose later qualified for the final of the 200 meters as well in 21.88.
Junior Janay Pierce (San Diego/UC Davis/University City HS) sprinted to a second-place finish in the fourth and final heat of the 100-meter dash on the women’s side (12.36), and qualified for Saturday’s final in seventh.
Jared Senese, a freshman out of San Diego’s Mt. Carmel High School, ran a lifetime-best 1:51.93 to win the final heat of the men’s 800 meters, catching USC’s Myles Andrews at around the 600-meter mark and holding off the Trojan junior (1:52.46) from there. The performance moved Senese into the No. 8 position all-time at UCSD, and also got under the NCAA provisional standard of 1:52.50. Senese, like Rose, earned the top qualifying position for Saturday’s final at 3:20 p.m. Teammate Sho Kodera also went a season-best time in 1:57.52.
Junior All-American Sabrina Pimentel got out in front early in the 800 meters and led for almost the entirety of the third preliminary heat, getting edged at the end by Azusa Pacific sophomore Reika Kijima (2:12.55). Pimentel improved her NCAA provisional mark by .05 seconds to 2:13.11, and advanced in sixth into the final. Fellow junior Lorato Anderson was second behind her at 400 meters before falling back to seventh (2:22.36) in the heat. Raélene deArmas went a season-best 2:18.79.
Making her season debut in the 400 hurdles, senior All-American Lauren Irish went a personal-record 1:01.66 for second in the first of four prelim heats, moving her up from No. 5 to No. 4 all-time at UCSD. It was already an NCAA provisional mark for Irish, eclipsing the standard of 1:02.75, and qualified her on to Saturday.
Lauren Lopez, another local product out of Oceanside and Carlsbad High School, timed a season-best 56.89 to cross second in her heat and ultimately qualify eighth into Saturday’s final of the 400 meters. Jackie Chalmers was third in her heat, with a third Triton freshman, Marisa Padilla, bettering her season best by over a full second, from 58.61 to 57.53.
Sophomore Adam Augustyn missed Saturday’s final in the 110 hurdles by one spot and .13 seconds, timing a season-best 14.98 for the 10th-fastest preliminary mark.
Chrissi Carr (10’11.75”), Eva Isaacs (138’8”) and Kyle Chiu (22’1.75”) achieved season bests in the pole vault, discus and long jump, respectively. Haley Libuit (10th, 124’2”) and Ellexi Snover (11th, 119’9”) narrowly missed point-scoring top-nine placements in the javelin.
San Diego State student-athletes won three of the six women’s finals on Friday, including senior Shanieka Thomas in the long jump (19’10.75”). Thomas is the reigning NCAA champion in both the outdoor and indoor triple jump. Azusa Pacific’s Allison Updike won the javelin with a school-record throw of 163’7”.
The 2014 Cal-Nevada Championships conclude on Saturday, April 5. The day begins at 11 a.m. with the women’s hammer throw, men’s high jump and women’s triple jump. The action on the track gets underway at 2 p.m. with the women’s 4x100 relay. All events on Saturday are finals.