The Mustang men and women’s track teams finished in second and fifth respectively at the Big West Championships in Northridge on Saturday.
For the men, the second-place finish came as a bit of a surprise. Injuries cut short the roster for the championship meet, but nearly every Mustang in uniform scored and several seasonal bests allowed for the near-upset of Long Beach State.
The Mustangs were led by its powerhouse cross country team, as Phillip Reid took first in the 1,500 meter with a time of 3:50.81 and Luke Llamas took the crown in the 5,000 meter, finishing in a time of 14:45.39. Matt Johnsrud, who sat out the entire regular season with an injury, scored for the Mustangs in the 1,500 as well, finishing in third with a time of 3:52.90.
Junior Chris White was vital to the Mustangs’ success as well, as the regional qualifier in shot put threw for a career-best mark in both the discus and shot put events. White took second in the shot put with a throw of 56-01.75 and third in the discus with a throw of 160-02.
Adrian Ruark won the pole vault with a mark of 16-6.75 while James Nunno also scored with a vault of 15-7.
Meanwhile, Aris Borjas threw a personal best 221-7 to win the javelin.
Also competing strongly was sophomore Sean Lopes with his third-place finish in the 800, clocking a time of 1:52.26 – a new personal best.
Senior Joe Pappalardo who took fourth in the 400 with a time of 47.63, shaving nearly a second off his seasonal best.
Long Beach State took the team championship with a final score of 195.50 points, Cal Poly came in second with 160.50 and Cal State Fullerton rounded out the top three with 116.50.
The Mustang women were led by senior Willimena Cisco in the 100 hurdles as the three-time Big West champion broke the school record with a blistering time of 13.39. The original record of 13.47, set by CeCe Chandler, had not been touched in 21 years.
Caitlin Schields and Jessica Eggleston took first and third respectively in the women’s triple jump as both set new seasonal best marks. Schields, just a freshman, had a best jump of 40-00.50, while Eggleston ended with a mark of 39-06.50.
Regional qualifier Deirdre Byrne was upset in the women’s 1,500 meter. The senior transfer from Providence College had attempted a tough double in the 1,500 and 800. She finished in second behind Amber Steen of UC Irvine at 4:25.93, a little more then a second behind Steen who crossed the line at 4:24.47.
Byrne also took second in the 800 meter, finishing with a time of 2:10.27.
Also competing well for Cal Poly was Cassie Atkinson who finished third in the 800 with a career-best time of 2:10.29.
Overall the women finished in fifth place with 76.50 points, as Cal State Northridge took the team championship with 207 points. UC Santa Barbara finished second at 165.50 and Long Beach State rounded out the top three with 152.
The men’s track and field team will be represented in the NCAA West Regionals by Borjas in the javelin, Joe Gatel in the 1500, Adrian Ruark in the pole vault and Chris White in the shot put. Llamas stands the best chance of making the NCAA Championships in the 3000 steeplechase.
The women will bring Byrne in the 1500 and Cisco in the 100 hurdles.
The regional championships are May 26-27 at Provo, Utah.