The entire Cal Poly team lined the side of the track in preparation for the men’s 4×400 relay to finish out Saturday’s dual meet against UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). As the shot rang and the runners took off, Cal Poly and UCSB teammates cheered their respective runners on. Amid the claps and screams, a sense of camaraderie resonated through the air.
“Everyone there was together as a group,” captain Eric Surprenant said. “We were loud, if not louder than UCSB. We have 90 people on the team and make up a majority of Cal Poly’s athletes. It’s awesome to show Cal Poly exactly what we have.”
Despite personal records by Surprenant in the 110 and 400 hurdles and Daniel Erdman in the discus, the Cal Poly men’s team fell to UCSB 104-96. Cal Poly women’s track was also downed 116-86. Winners of each event were awarded five points; three points went to second place, and two points were given to third.
Senior Kyle Inks and junior John Prader went back and forth in the pole vault, both setting personal records. Inks cleared 17 feet 8.5 inches, while Prader surpassed his previous record of 16 feet 9.5 inches with a 17-foot-2.5-inch pole vault.
“The goal was to get some good competitive marks in as we head into the conference meet,” head coach Mark Conover said. “We came out of it with some excellent marks. Eric Surprenant had a great day, he’s been outstanding.”
Surprenant posted a 51.93 in the 400 hurdles, barely beating sophomore David Namnath.
Cal Poly was not fazed by the defeat, though. Strong performances in a multitude of areas prime Cal Poly for success at the Big West Conference Meet on May 11.
David Cardona, who took second in the 1500, used the meet as a means of preparation for the conference championships. His 3:48.74 was narrowly beat by UCSB’s Shyan Vaziri, who finished at 3:48.73, one-hundredth of a second ahead of him. The race marked the closest finish of the day.
“I definitely want to be up there with the front pack,” Cardona said. “I want to get as close to 3:45 as possible. I want to make a smarter move instead of taking it out earlier. I think that will help towards my success.”
Alongside Cardona, sophomore distance runner Blake Ahrold performed well, winning the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:15.20.
Conover said he hopes a strong two weeks of practice will prime Cal Poly for success in the postseason.
“There was a lot of improvement in all the event areas today,” Conover said. “Hurdlers, field events, sprinters — we had a lot of people qualify for conference. People are in a good spot, but everyone needs to improve just a little bit more and we will be ready.”
In the field events, Daniel Erdman won both the shot put and discus. A distance of 16.96 meters in the shot put was enough to beat out UCSB’s Alex Umstead throw of 16.9 meters.
“We came out of it with some excellent marks,” Conover said. “We had a lot of wins today and some valiant efforts. Erdman had a good day.”
On the women’s side, freshman Jenna Davis posted a 2:11.48, which was good enough to claim first place in the 800. Davis was followed by freshman Hanna Edwards and junior Lia Rivers-Birt who posted times of 2:11.87 and 2:13.21 respectively.
Cal Poly’s Jessica Williams posted a 12.06 to win the women’s 100 beating out four UCSB runners in the event.
A strong performance by Savannah Pio helped her win the 5000 with a time of 17:54. Pio won the event by nearly nine seconds with the next runner finishing with a time of 18:03.
Riley Hasche had a career day, set a personal record and catapulted himself to victory with a pole vault of 5.4 meters .