Gauchos Finish Second in Both Big West Track and Field Championships

May 13, 2007

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara narrowly missed winning both the 2007 Big West men's and women's track and field titles on Saturday, but Cal State Northridge shook off challengers through the final event on both sides as the Matadors claimed the titles at Matador Track Complex in Northridge, Calif.

The CSUN men claimed the title with 165 points, just 3.5 points ahead of second place UCSB. Cal Poly was third with 149 tallies, while Long Beach State, last year's champion, ended the championships with 115 points. Cal State Fullerton was fifth with 103 points, while UC Irvine (96) and UC Riverside (21.5) rounded out the men's standings.

The Matador women's contingent won their second-straight women's title with 174 points, outlasting UC Santa Barbara who amassed 166 points. Third place belonged to Long Beach State with 146.5, while Cal Poly was fourth with 129 points. Cal State Fullerton wrapped up the events in fifth place with 79 points, while UC Riverside (61.5) and UC Irvine (59) completed the women's standings.

The first scored event of the day was the women's shot put. UC Santa Barbara's Amy Haapanen recorded her second individual crown of the championships after coming through with a personal-best mark of 52-3.25 (15.93m). The men's shot put wrapped up with Jeff Stewart from UCSB leading a 1-2 finish for the Gauchos. Stewart won the individual title with a toss of 56-6.50 (17.23m), while teammate Tim Delmundo was right behind him with an effort of 55-11.25 (17.05m).

The men's discus was the next field event to finish up as Rob Jennings topped the field for the gold medal. His mark of 187-4.00 (57.11m) was just six inches off his top performance during the season. The women's discus finished up with Long Beach State's Jennifer Onyeabako outlasted a pair of UC Santa Barbara athletes with a mark of 170-4.00 (54.67m). Haapanen and fellow Gaucho Heather Quinn finished in second and third, respectively, with marks of 170-11 (52.11m) and 163-07 (49.86m).

The women's triple jump continued the trend of 1-2 finishes as Cal Poly's Jessica Eggleston and Caitlin Schields took the top two spots. Eggleston won the event with a mark of 40-8.75 (12.41m), while Schields finished up with a 40-5.00 (12.32m). The marks were both regional qualifying results. On the men's side, DaShalle Andrews led Cal State Northridge's 1-2 finish with a mark of 51-7.25 (15.73m), less than six inches better teammate's Rolando Felizola's effort of 51-1.50 (15.58m).

It was a case of déjà vu in the women's high jump as Sharon Day of Cal Poly regained her individual title from 2005 after recording a height of 6-0.50 (1.84m) for the gold. Heptathlon winner Lauren Collins finished right behind her with an effort of 5-11.25 (1.81m).

With the crowd anticipating the start of the track events, the Cal State Northridge men's 4x100-meter relay team started things off with a blistering 40.17 to win the event. The Matador women followed through with a win in their own after completing the race in 44.96. Both times are the top times in the conference this season.

The 1,500-meter run brought even more excitement as Cal Poly's Phillip Reid outlasted UC Irvine's Ricky Barnes for the individual crown. Reid crossed the finish in a conference championship record 3:42.54, a lifetime best and the top mark in the Big West this season. Barnes was just a step behind Reid with a 3:42.57, an Anteater record and a personal-best. UC Riverside's Brenda Martinez led a 1-2 finish in the women's end of the event as she completed the race in 4:23.87, while teammate Lisa Lopez finished in 4:29.80.

The 110-meter hurdles was the next race in the spotlight and the recurring theme of 1-2 team finishes continued. Cal State Northridge's Terry Ross won the event in 13.98, while Anthony Brown was right behind him at 14.11. In all the CSUN men tallied 26 points in the event. In the women's 100-meter hurdles race, Cal State Fullerton's Dinah Clark clocked a 13.77 to claim the individual championship, just ahead of Erricka Feazell's 13.80 showing.

The 400-meter dash was next as Cal State Fullerton's Chris Epstein outlasted the field in 47.05, a regional qualifying time. Long Beach State's Alex Goldberg was right on his heels with a time of 47.11. The Titans swept the event as Candace Wilson won the event in 54.64, while teammate Nancy Blake gave CSF a second place finisher after crossing the line at 54.77.

Brent Gray collected his first individual title of the championships in the 100-meter dash as the Long Beach State junior clocked a 10.42, .14 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Deanna Goodwin took home the crown in the women's race after topping the field in 11.71, a .13 difference from the next-best finisher.

UC Santa Barbara got back in the winners circle in the next event as Tetlo Emmen took home the gold in the 800-meter run after an effort of 1:48.92, an NCAA Regional qualifying time. Lea Wallace and Cassie Atkinson ran 1-2 in the women's 800 as Wallace won the event with a time of 2:09.56, while Atkinson ran a 2:10.19.

The men's 400-meter hurdles was the next event as Roberto Archibold gave Cal State Fullerton 10 points after winning the race in 52.29. Cal State Northridge's Julie Eze won the event on the women's side after clocking a 59.94, the only competitor to finish under 60 seconds.

The 200-meter dash was the next focus of the competition as Brent Gray of Long Beach State took home his second individual crown with a showing of 20.70. Not to be outdone, Deanna Goodwin also added her second title of the day after blistering the race in 23.56.

With the day winding down, points were at a premium for the teams atop the standings. In the 5,000-meter run, UC Santa Barbara went 1-2 as J.D. Krawczyk took the gold at 14:37.52 and Mike Chavez recorded a 14:38.63 to finish second. The Gauchos scored 23 points in the event to climb within three points of the team scoring lead behind Cal State Northridge. The women's end of the event saw more UCSB domination as the Gauchos went 1-2-3 at the finish. Stephanie Rothstein was the winner with a time of 16:42.50, Megan Lewis was the runner-up at 7:04.76 and Bethany Nickless completed the sweep with a time of 17:11.73.

The 4x400-meter relay would be the deciding race for both team titles. On the men's side, Long Beach State took home the gold with a time of 3:12.43. However, by virtue of Cal State Northridge's fourth place finish, the Matadors clinched the team title. Cal State Fullerton stood atop the podium at the end of the women's 4x400-meter relay after completing the event in 3:39.18. CSUN, which entered the race just a few points ahead of UC Santa Barbara, finished second in 3:42.17, claiming the women's team title for the Matadors.