Long Beach, Calif. - With a full 3 days of action from the Bryan Clay Invitational, one would assume that UC Santa Barbara Track and Field would call it a week. 2 athletes in particular however decided to sneak in 1 last effort at the Beach Invitational in Long Beach, and the move paid dividends with SO Christopher Ruggles improving his shot put mark once again and JR Kordell Hampton furthering his school record in the discus for the 2nd time this season.
Ground Control To Major Kordell
Ruggles would start the meet off on a good note in the shot after a lackluster performance Bryan Clay less than 24 hours prior. He made the most of his 2nd chance with a 52' 6 ¾" throw, a solid improvement by over 4 ½". Going by metric standards, this would be his first throw over 16 meters in his Gaucho career.
"Chris deserves a shout out for setting the tone of the day with his personal best," said Assistant Throws Coach Robert Marlow. "After a lackluster performance at [Bryan Clay], he able to break the 16 meter barrier which is a solid accomplishment."
Then it was Kordell's turn to take off. After finishing 1st in the discus at the Bryan Clay Invitational on Friday, he opted to carry some of that momentum into Saturday and truly rose to the occasion in a field composed of top US and international athletes from all across the globe, including 2012 Olympic Discus Silver Medallist Ehsan Hadadi of Iran. On his 2nd attempt, Kordell would hurl the discus all the way out to 186' 10 ½", flying just a hair past his previous school record throw of 186' 9" to guarantee a spot in the final round for another 3 attempts. Hardly satisfied, the junior let the field know that that wasn't all he had in the tank, and with a quick reset, Kordell decided to throw even further on his 3rd attempt, launching the discus all the way out to 187' 2" to add another 5" to his school record mark. His record setting throw now has him ranked at No. 21 in the nation for NCAA Division 1.
"We came to the Beach Invite in order to gain experience throwing against elite level athletes, and that goal was accomplished," remarked Coach Marlow. "Although Kordell was able to secure a new personal best and school record in the process, I was most impressed with how he kept his composure in a competition that was packed with so much talent. There is still much more work to be had before conference and regionals, but as long as we stay focused, Kordell should be poised to perform well at these meets."