Event: Big West Conference Championships
Host: Cal State Northridge
Where: Matador Track – Northridge
When: Today and Saturday, all day
Who to watch: Aggies junior Polly Gnepa was named the Big West Conference Men‘s Track Athlete of the Week on Wednesday for his record-breaking performance in the 110 meter hurdles at the Aggie Twilight last weekend.
Gnepa crossed the finish line in 14.01 seconds, breaking the school record by one hundredth of a second. The Turlock, Calif. native is the first to receive conference Male Athlete of the Week honors for the Aggies this season and has already qualified for NCAA Division I West Region Championships.
Did you know? Gnepa wasn’t the only Aggie to make history in the hurdles. Sirena Williams broke her previous school record in the 100 hurdles with her run of 13.93 seconds.
Preview: The mercury will be rising this weekend to triple digits as the eight Big West Conference teams square off for an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championships in June.
The eight Big West teams include three-time-host and defending champion Cal State Northridge. UC Davis, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.
As a first-year member of the conference, UC Davis will be looking to dethrone Cal State Northridge, the three-time defending league champion.
Besides conference leaders Gnepa and Williams, junior Micah Grant and senior Natalie Russell are jumping a few more hurdles in the 400, making their way to the UC Davis all-time list.
Grant won his most recent event at the Aggie Twilight with a run of 48.30. Russell, meanwhile, set a new personal best with a 1:01.93, jumping her to No. 6 on the all-time list.
A three-event starter for the Aggies, junior thrower Matt Swarbrick recently set a personal record in the shot put that moved him to 8th all-time.
“I’ve been battling for two years,” Swarbrick said. “Going through a lot of training trying to PR [personal record] in the shot put, and it finally happened. Right now I’m throwing in three events and I know you can’t be the best in all three but I’m going to try to.“
Swarbrick also had encouraging words for freshman Ed Orgon, who recently PR’d in the hammer throw.
“Eddie is going to be a great thrower. He has a lot of raw talent right now but with a little more technique he’ll be awesome,“ Swarbrick said.
In women’s long distance, senior Kim Conley has paced the conference in the 5,000 meter run after setting the school record on May 4. Conley is another three-event participant, running in the 800, 1,500 and her forte, the 5,000.
For the past three years, the Aggies had been forced to participate in the Division I Independent Championships, waiting for a chance to compete for the Big West title.