LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego track and field programs opened a busy 2014 home schedule on Saturday, the women and men placing first and second, respectively, at the All-Cal Championships held at Triton Track & Field Stadium.
Fellow University of California system schools UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara, all members of the NCAA Division I, were on hand for UCSD’s first turn as host of the meet that has been staged in past years in Irvine.
The Triton women (221 points) won the meet for the first time since doing so in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. UCSB, which was second with 189 points, had taken top honors in each of the past three years, with the meet not taking place in 2010. UCI was third (122) and UCR fourth (76).
On the men’s side, the Gauchos earned the most points for the fifth straight All-Cal meet, scoring 214 to UCSD’s 179. UCR was third (125) and UCI fourth (100).
UCSD women won six of the 19 events, with the men adding five first-place efforts.
The men’s haul was highlighted by Saturday’s lone automatic qualifying performance for the NCAA Championships by a Triton student-athlete, that coming from junior All-American Nash Howe with a first-place throw in the javelin of 218’10” in just his season debut. That toss eclipsed the automatic standard for 2014 of 216’3”, sending Howe to his second straight national meet after a seventh-place finish in Pueblo, Colo., last May. Howe had UCSD’s only automatic qualifier in 2013.
Also coming up with individual wins for the Triton men were freshmen Emmanuel Elijah and Markus Woods in the 100-meter dash (11.16) and 400 hurdles (55.39), respectively, as well as sophomores Dan Golubovic (6’4.75” in high jump) and Randy Copeman (22’5.75” in long jump) in field events.
Woods came from behind and overtook UCI sophomore Kyle Hubbard (55.44) down the stretch for his second victory in the 400 hurdles in as many meets, bettering his time of 55.89 from his college debut at the Rossi Relays in Claremont on Feb. 22.
Haley Libuit was an individual event winner for UCSD in the women’s javelin, her top distance of 135’2” meaning a provisional qualifier for the sophomore. Also turning in first-place marks were junior sprinter Janay Pierce (San Diego/University City HS/UC Davis) in the 100 (12.24), freshman Lauren Lopez (Poway/Carlsbad HS) in the 400 (57.17), junior All-American Sabrina Pimentel in the 800 (2:15.12) and Chantia Justice in the triple jump (38’6.75”).
Justice’s distance was, like Libuit, a provisional qualifier, but the junior had already achieved that in the season opener on Feb. 22 (38’7.5”).
Lopez paced a 1-2-3 freshman finish for UCSD in the 400 with Chalmers (58.04) and Marisa Padilla (58.61) following. Pierce was also second in the 200 meters in 25.17.
Two NCAA provisionals on the men’s side came in distance events, as senior Mario Flores (9:23.16) and junior Carlos Bojorquez (3:51.44) placed third in the 3000 steeplechase and 1500 meters, respectively. Bojorquez is a San Diego product out of Kearny High School and San Diego Mesa College.
Clint Rosser, a senior pole vaulter who placed ninth at his first NCAA Championships last year, made his season debut and was second with a height of 14’11”.
UCSD remains in home action next Saturday, March 8, hosting the San Diego Collegiate Challenge with a 12 p.m. start time at Triton Track & Field Stadium.