Going to the NCAA Championships is nothing new for Sharon Day.
It was only two years ago, after all, that the Cal Poly high jumper won the national outdoor title. But punching her ticket to NCAAs on Friday with a win in the high jump at the NCAA West Regional Meet carried a special meaning for Day. Her long journey back to nationals after suffering a broken foot in December 2005 finally culminated Friday with a winning mark of 6 feet, 1/2 inch at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
“It feels really good,” Day said Monday in a phone interview of battling back from the injury. “It’s funny how you kind of get to appreciate the little things better.”
Day, a junior, will be joined by teammates Aris Borjas and Phillip Reid at the NCAA Championships, which run from June 6 to 9 at Sacramento State.
Borjas, a senior, won the men’s javelin Saturday with a personal-best throw of 236 feet, 5 inches.
Reid, a junior, finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run in 3 minutes, 46.27 seconds Saturday.
“I’m excited for them,” Day said of Borjas and Reid. “It’s always fun to have teammates competing.”
Day wasn’t the only one glad to see the Mustang trio wrap up automatic spots at NCAAs.
“All three have the potential to be All-Americans,” Cal Poly head coach Terry Crawford said Saturday in a phone interview. “It’s been a good regional meet for the whole team. Even some people who didn’t advance had quality performances.”
Cal Poly distance-running coach Mark Conover said Reid – who set the Big West Conference Championships meet record in the 1,500 at 3:42.54 on May 12 – was able to do his thing in a field that quickly turned the race tactical.
“He was able to run a really strong last 100,” Conover said Saturday in a phone interview. “Now he knows he can run from the front and he can stay in there. His primary goal will be to make the (NCAA) final. If you do that, you’re going to be an All-American. It’s one of the deepest (NCAA) fields in 1,500 history. He’s ready to roll and has a legitimate shot at reaching the final. Phil’s in a situation where he’ll be able to give the All-American certificates a good go.”
Crawford added: “Phillip ran with a lot of maturity. I think the race today will give him a lot of confidence. He had two strong races in two days (prelims and finals) with different tactics. He’s eyeing that All-American platform and I think that’s his goal. He’s looking good.”
Borjas, meanwhile, dominated the javelin field, winning by more than 18 inches over the second-place finisher, Oregon’s Ryan Brandel.
Day edged Cal’s Inika McPherson, who also cleared 6-0 1/2 but had one more miss.
“I think it means a lot to win,” Day said. “I would have liked to jump a little bit higher. I don’t really have a specific height, but higher.”
Day, Borjas and Reid were only two of 12 Mustangs who competed at regionals.
Also for Cal Poly, Evan Anderson was eighth in the 1,500 (3:47.84), Troy Swier 10th in the 5,000 (14:18.78), Jessica Eggleston tied for 12th in the triple jump (40-10 1/2), Lea Wallace took 13th in the 800 (2:09.87), Caitlin Schields 14th in the triple jump (40-6), Julie Dufresne 17th in both the shot put (47-1 1/2) and discus (150-5), Jenna Homes tied for 21st in the pole vault (12-0), Leighton Heape was 23rd in the shot put (49-6) and Jeff Lease 28th in the steeplechase (9:29.87).
As for Day, the return trip to Sacramento – the same site at which she won the 2005 outdoor title in the high jump – is one she has been waiting for.
“Hopefully it’ll kind of raise my adrenaline level,” she said. “I hope that I will jump well like I did two years ago. My goal is to win nationals.”