The Cal Poly track and field team dropped its annual Blue-Green Rivalry meet at home against UC Santa Barbara at home on Saturday, with the men’s team losing 106-95 and the women losing 106-93 to close out the regular season.
Despite the loss, Cal Poly won 16 events and had some excellent individual performances on the day. Junior Arnie Sambel tossed the shot put 57-feet-2 inches, to tie for the fifth-farthest throw in Cal Poly history.
Senior Kendal Nielsen joined Sambel in the Cal Poly record books by recording a triple jump of 41-8 3/4, the third-longest in Cal Poly women’s history. Nielsen, currently No. 43 nationally in triple jump, also placed first in the long jump, recording a career-best 19-10 1/2.
Juniors Jessica Escalante and Mishe’ Scott finished second and third, respectively, behind Nielsen in the long jump. Also, Jessica Rasmussen and Scott finished the long jump Top 3 with jumps of 19 1/4 and 18-9 3/4, respectively.
Scott, an all-conference long jumper last year, recorded her season’s best with Saturday’s jump, improving eight inches from her previous best.
The Mustangs had eight more athletes that placed first in the meet, including junior Ricky Strehlow, who both placed in men’s high jump and triple jump. Both of Strehlow’s victories, a 23-1 long jump and 48-9 1/4-inch triple jump, were some of his season-bests.
An impressive career-best performance from sophomore pole-vaulter Tomi Nord gained attention from both crowds, who tied for first in pole vault.
“Yeah, I was (nervous),” Nord said. “I’ve been getting close to 16 (feet) every meet and I knew that if I was going to do it today was the day. I hit 16 and a half today, so I reached that goal. I want to get a new personal best at conference, 16 feet, 6 inches or even 17 (feet).”
Two second-place finishes of note were sophomores Mikey Giguere in the 3,000 meter (8:16.92) and Chloe Carlson in the 400 meter (58.31), both career-bests.
The final event for the meet, the men’s 4×400 meter relay, lived up to the hype, with both teams crowding around the final corner before the home stretch. Despite chants and screams from both teams, only 12 people could compete in the final event.
After the Mustangs lost the women’s 4×400 meter relay, the men’s team knew what was on the line for Cal Poly. As the men’s relay teams lined up, the Mustangs were competing for pride.
The gun fired and the race seemed to belong to Cal Poly through the first three legs, leading by one second when freshman Connor Crowe ended the third lap.
However, after competing in the 200 meter minutes earlier, senior Walter Finney could not overcome his lingering fatigue, dropping half a second behind UCSB to finish the dual meet.
“I just needed to maintain that lead, maybe even get more of a lead, for (Finney) because he is going to need it for that last lap,” Crowe said about his job in the race. “I think we did good today, as a squad and relay team. We definitely showed some mental toughness out there.”
Cal Poly finished with 16 event wins, nine second-place finishes and six third-place finishes in the day’s events. UC Santa Barbara won 22 events and finished second in 11. Despite a solid showing in Saturday’s events, Cal Poly head coach Danny Williams was happy, but not satisfied.
“They barely caught us on the 400-meter at the tape, but we’ll get to see them at conference when were all fresh and I think it will be a different story,” said Williams. “I think we will be prepared to do quite nicely at conference.”
Cal Poly will prepare for the Big West Championship at Long Beach State next weekend. The event will begin at 1 p.m. on May 13-14, the latter day being televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Note: Chloe Carlson is a news reporter for Mustang News. She was not involved in the production of this article.