Matadors Pull Off Repeat Performance as Men's and Women's Big West Champions

May 15, 2010

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge continued its domination of the Big West Track & Field Championships as the Matador women won their fifth consecutive title while the Northridge men nailed down their second straight.

The championships were held at the Matador Track Complex where the women's squad won their fourth consecutive championship while the men won their second Big West title on the home track.

The Matador women scored 114 points on Saturday and needed every one of them to hold off UC Santa Barbara as the team championship came down to the final event, the 4x400 relay. Leading the Gauchos by one point (183-182), the Northridge relay team of Jasmine Cox, Desirae Gonder, Brenna Hoffman and Jackie Harrison ran 3:41.52 to hold off UC Davis (3:42.58) and UCSB (3:43.59) and clinch the Matadors' fifth straight conference championship. The Northridge women match Utah State for the most championships in Big West history with seven total.

Third belonged to UC Davis with 113 points, while Cal State Fullerton finished the top half of the standings with 97 points. Fifth place was UC Riverside with 71 points, with Cal Poly coming in sixth with 60 points. Long Beach State (53) and UC Irvine (43) completed the women's standings.

The Matador men won their second straight Big West Championship and fifth in the last seven years by easily out-distancing second-place Long Beach State by 28 points. Northridge's 173 points is the second-most ever by a Matador men's squad behind last season's 176.5. Cal Poly finished in third with 134 points, while UC Santa Barbara had 132.5 point for fourth. Fifth place was UC Davis with 91 points, while sixth place was UC Irvine with 58.5 points. UC Riverside (43) and Cal State Fullerton (42) wrapped up the 2010 men's meet.

"There were just a lot of people that stepped up across the board," said Director of Track & Field Don Strametz. "I'm very proud of both teams."

The final day of the championships opened with the women's discus and Claire Morgan found the leaderboard finishing in fifth place after posting a career-best 157-0 (47.85). Morgan earned four points for the Matador women while Whitney Hooks narrowly missed scoring as she placed ninth but posting a lifetime-best 141-8 (43.17).

Northridge also added four points in the women's triple jump as Ese Ntekume eclipsed her previous career-best with a distance of 39-10 (12.14). Ntekume's fifth place finish was the best for the Matadors as Stella Dugall was 10th with a best of 38-7 (11.76).

The Matador men scored well in the shot put as Derek Cooper claimed his first Big West championship in the event with a mark of 58-7.50 (17.87). Cooper now has a 2010 shot put championship to go with his discus titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Alex Butler, who won the shot put in 2008, finished fourth with a best of 55-2 (16.81). Between Cooper and Butler, the Matadors added 15 points to the men's team tally.

With the attention shifting to the track, the Matadors swept the 4x100 meter relay finals with the both the men's and the women's squads taking first place in the event. Precious Watkins, Shelese Ruffin, Sierra Brooks and Gonder claimed the women's title in a season-best time of 45.35, while Ben Santos, David Reid, Bradley Ike and Reindell Cole brought home first prize in the men's event in a time of 39.86.

The 4x100 relay title is the fifth straight for the Northridge women and second straight and fourth in the last five years for the Matador men.

The Northridge women picked up eight more points in the 100 meter hurdles, as LaShandra Batiste finished fourth in a career-best 14.14 and Desirae Gonder finished sixth in 14.27.

CSUN continued its success in the men's 110 meter hurdles. Michael Woodham placed second in 14.62 and Lance Gonzalez finished sixth in 14.88 to earn 11 points for the Northridge men.

Ruffin finished in a lifetime-best 52.82 and Jackie Harrison finished in a season-best 55.44 to place second and third, respectively, in the women's 400 meter dash, contributing 14 points to the Northridge effort in the process.

The Northridge men dominated the 100 meter dash as Bradley Ike, Cole and David Reid finished first, second and fourth, respectively, to earn 23 points for CSUN. Ike made it back-to-back championships for Northridge finishing first in 10.52, while Cole was second in 10.54 and Reid was forth in 10.64. Ike's championship was his first Big West triumph and follows up DeShawn Waters' championship in 2009.

Precious Watkins made it seven straight 100 meter championships for the Matador women as she finished first in a time of 11.91. Brooks placed third in a time of 12.08 to pick up another 16 points for CSUN. The last time the Matadors did not win a 100 meter dash at the Big West Championship was 2003.

Northridge had another strong showing in the women's 400 meter hurdles. Batiste finished second in a career-best 60.76, Vanice Colbert finished third in 61.76 and Brenna Hoffman finished seventh in a lifetime-best 63.78 to add another 16 points for the Matadors' tally

Gonder, who contributed 29 points by herself at the championships in addition to running on both relay teams, gained another six points for Northridge in the women's high jump. Gonder's best jump of 5-10.75 (1.80) was a season-best and was good enough for third place in the event.

In the men's pole vault, Anthony Orozco had his best meet of the season as he cleared a lifetime-best height of 16-2 (4.93) to finish in third place, picking up four points for CSUN.

Whitney Hooks finished fourth after a best of 44-5.25 (13.54) and Morgan Bogard finished sixth after a best of 41-8.75 (12.72) to pick up a total of eight points in the women's shot put final.

Cooper capped another impressive championship meet as the senior from Las Vegas, Nev., added more hardware to his collection by winning the men's discus. Cooper's mark of 180-6 (55.02) easily out-distanced Long Beach State Cesar Puga who threw 172-4 (52.54). The win gave Cooper an unprecedented three consecutive Big West discus titles.

The men's 200 meter dash saw the Mataors take four of the top eight spots. Reid placed first in what was a season-best 21.10, Cole finished second in a career-best 21.23 and Nic Taylor finished sixth in 22.24. Ike, coming back from an injury suffered at the end of the 100 meters, finished eighth in 29.70 to earn a total of 22 points for CSUN.

The women also had a strong showing in the 200 meters. Gonder continued to pile up points placing third in a time of 24.43, Watkins finished fourth in 24.47, Brooks finished sixth in 24.52 and Ruffin finished eighth in 24.94. The Northtridge women totaled 15 points in the event.

Ntekume earned four more points for the Matadors in the women's triple jump. Ntekume's best of 39-10.00 (12.14) was a career-best and good enough for a fifth place finish.

Awet Hagos and Eric Fremd earned seven points for their efforts in the men's triple jump. Hagos finished fourth following a career-best of 49-3 (15.01) while Fremd's best of 47-10.5 (14.59) was also a lifetime-best and good enough for seventh place.

In the second-to-last event of the meet, Lilyanna Morejon picked up two crucial points for Northridge in the women's 5000 meter run. Morejon placed seventh in a time of 17:11.45.


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