Sophomore Ashley Hearn highlighted the Aggies‘ performance at an unscored, five-way meet in Berkeley, as she earned a trip to the West Regional Championships in her discus season debut.
Hearn threw a huge personal best of 47.48m on her very first throw of the competition. Not only did she win by over four meters, but her other legal throw would have also easily netted her the win.
“Obviously to have Ashley get her auto qualifier in the discus in her first outdoor meet is terrific,” said coach Deanne Vochatzer. “She had a really good throw in the hammer as well and also threw shot, so she had a really good day.“
Arguably the most exciting race of the day was the women’s 800m, which was won by junior Jenna Gailey in 2:14.67. Though sitting in third for much of the race, Gailey found a new gear with about 230m to go and engaged in a thrilling battle down the home stretch, winning by just .11 seconds.
“For Jenna to open up at 2:14 is great,” Vochatzer said. “She had a good race. She ran that Cal girl down so that was pretty exciting.“
The other middle distance event, the 1,500m, had a strong UC Davis showing as senior Lorin Scott took second in 4:30.28 with junior Ali Stoakley finishing third in 4:41.18.
“On the line, I knew that no one else was going to take [the race] out,” Scott said, “so I went out and tried to make it a decent effort. I ended up getting second, but I was happy with the time as an outdoor opener. I know where I stand now and know that I have places that I can improve.“
The Aggies took one more win at the meet, courtesy of senior Sirena Williams in the 100m hurdles. Willams won by a narrow .03 seconds, clocking a 14.28. While not the greatest time for last season’s regional qualifier, it was a win against a strong field. She also took second in the long jump at 5.45m.
Though there were plenty of highlights, not everything went as planned on Saturday.
“We pulled the [4x400m] relays,” Vochatzer said. “I don’t usually pull relays. Everyone had a little something, so it was not worth it for us to run them. No one was hurt, but people didn’t feel quite right. But we have lots of weeks left.“
In addition to those at Cal, three heptathletes competed up at Chico on Thursday and Friday. Junior college transfer Anikia Jackson had a dominating win with 4,658 points for the two-day event, which was highlighted by her 805-point 100m-hurdle performance of 15.28. Freshman Johanne Boulat (3,994) and junior Tiffany Knox (3,704) finished second and third, respectively.
The final Aggie contingent was at the Washington Last-Chance Qualifier, where senior Kim Conley destroyed the 3,000m field, clocking 9:19.16 to win by over 18 seconds. Senior Kaitlin Gregg competed in the 5,000m, taking second in 16:54.99.
“We had some bright spots, then some scary parts,” Vochatzer said, “but all in all, it was pretty good.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.