May 17, 2014

Matador Women a Close Second, Men Sixth at Big West Track & Field Championships

Final Results (PDF)

DAVIS, Calif. - The CSUN women's track & field squad gave defending champion UC Davis all it could handle but a few points in key events gave the host Aggies the margin they needed to pull out a 194-183.33 victory Saturday on the final day of the Big West Track & Field Championships at Toomey Field & Woody Wilson Track.

With 183.33 points the Matadors tallied their most points since winning the team championship in 2010. The CSUN men wound up sixth on Saturday with a team total of 63.50 points.

"I'm so proud of the effort we gave today," said CSUN head coach Avery Anderson. "It was clear that we came to compete. I've rarely seen a team score over 180 points and not win a conference championship, it's just incredible. Although we had a miscue on the 4x1 handoff we still picked ourselves up and competed to win. Davis is such a strong team that we couldn't afford to falter but if we get the baton around we win the meet."

The Matador women, who were fourth in 2012 and third last season, led after eight events on Friday and were looking to complete their way back to the top of the conference with a solid day of event finals Saturday.

The Matadors picked up a majority of their points in bunches as only Lydia French (high jump) and the 4x400 relay claimed gold medals and the full 10 points on the women's side.

With a majority of the action on the track, the final day of competition did not get off to a great start for CSUN as the Matadors' 4x100 relay team botched their first exchange between Le'Shel Vines and Hafsatu Kamara and were disqualified from the race.

The Matadors got back on the scoreboard in the 100 meter hurdles as Marie Veale took second in a season-best 13.70 while Stephanie Hicks was fifth in 13.88 for 12 points. CSUN added seven points in the 400 meters as Lexis Lambert (55.21) and Samantha Dirks (55.43) finished fifth and sixth. CSUN then looked to add a good number of points in the short sprints and did so as Veale was second in both the 100 and 200 to defending champion Ashley Marshall of UC Davis.

The 200 meters came down to a photo finish as Veale (23.86) was edged by Marshall (23.85) by the slimmest of margins. In all, CSUN tallied 28 total points in the short sprints with Veale having a hand in 26 points. With the Matadors and Aggies still trading the lead, Ronisha Vallery and Emma Millard gave CSUN a lift in the 400 meter hurdles as Vallery clocked a season-best 60.50 for third and Millard was sixth in 62.82.

French provided the highlight for the Matadors in the field events on Saturday as she cleared a season-best height of 5-9.75 (1.77) to win CSUN's only individual gold. French, who followed up Lohnnie Tape-Jackson's win in the men's high jump, outdueled teammate Ashley Henry who finished second at 5-9.25 (1.76).

Saturday's shot put also provided another highlight for junior Mariah Counts who capped a solid meet with a third place finish with a lifetime-best of 47-10.50 (14.59). Counts, who was also third in the javelin and fourth in the hammer, accounted for 17 points at the championships. Monique Griffiths was also a standout finishing second in the hammer (lifetime-best 187-11) and third in the discus (160-3).

In the triple jump, Cydney Leath set a personal-best with a mark of 40-11 (12.47) for second and Jealinda Mills was third with a best of 40-7 (12.37) which was also a lifetime-best.

On the men's side, CSUN knew they would be hard pressed to continue their dominance in the short sprints without Carl Horsley and Nico DeMartino. Jordan Taylor ran well in the 100 prelims on Friday before being disqualified due to a false start in the 200 prelims. The junior then ran a season-best 10.45 in the 100 final to take third with the 10th-fastest time in CSUN history.

The Matador men also got scoring performances from Christian Carter in the 400 meters (48.38) and Leran Hutchings in the 400 hurdles (53.97). Alex Monsivaiz also finished second in the 800 meters in a time of 1:50.86 which ranks just outside the all-time top-10 in the Matador record books.

Derion Taylor reached the podium after finishing second in the triple jump with a season-best of 50-6.75 (15.41) while Evan Arnott scored in the discus (163-3) by finishing fifth.

"We knew we were going to have an uphill battle on the men's side but we still wanted to come out and have some big individual performances to drive the team," said Anderson. "When you redshirt three guys that account for over 60 points at last year's championship you have to have others step up and fill in, a lot of our guys did that. We had a lot of young guys score so the future is definitely bright." 

BIG WEST TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
May 16-17, 2014
Toomey Field & Wood Wilson Track - UC Davis

Final Men's Team Scores (21 events scored)
1. Long Beach State - 218.50
2. Cal Poly - 144.50
3. UC Davis - 133
4. UC Santa Barbara - 91
5. UC Riverside - 72
6. CSUN - 63.50
7. UC Irvine - 46
8. Cal State Fullerton - 43.50

Final Women's Team Scores (21 events scored)
1. UC Davis - 194
2. CSUN - 183.33
3. UC Irvine - 83
4. Long Beach State - 73.50
5. UC Santa Barbara - 73
6. Cal Poly - 69.33
7. UC Riverside - 49
7. Cal State Fullerton - 49
9. Hawaii - 42.83

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