Event: Aggie Open
Where: Toomey Field
When: Saturday; all day
Who to watch: Mid-distance sensation Jonathan Sees opened his junior season in impressive fashion, clocking 1:51.91 for the 800m at last week’s meet in Berkeley. That time placed him ninth on the Aggies‘ all-time list.
“I was pretty excited about it,” Sees said. “It was a really good opening time. I’m excited for the season.“
As well he should be, seeing as the 800m is only his secondary event. His primary event is the 1,500m, which he will run this Saturday.
“Hopefully the race goes out quick,” Sees said. “I want to go under 3:50, hit a regional mark or at least a good time to start the season off. Obviously, I want to win.“
Did you know? Last week, senior Polly Gnepa became the first Aggie ever to qualify for two NCAA Division I West Regional Championships, as he clocked 14.28 in the 110m hurdles.
“I think I had one of the best starts I’ve ever had,” Gnepa said. “I even remember thinking once I was out of the blocks, ‘Wow, that was a good start.‘”
Preview: After a rust-buster last week in Berkeley, the Aggies are ready to impress at home. And they will have to be, as much of Northern California’s best talent will be competing.
“We have about 25 schools coming,” coach Jon Vochatzer said. “We got close to 700 folks coming, so it should be a really fun meet. Lots of competition, lots of heats. We’re going to take as many folks as we can as long as they are competitive.“
The Aggies will have plenty of talent themselves, especially in the barrier races.
“I got to tell you,” Vochatzer said, “the 110m hurdles and the 400m hurdles are going to be fun to watch. And the steeple. It will be the first time [junior Russ] Pfaff comes out of the woodworks and it’ll be fun to see what he can get done.“
The 110m hurdles will showcase school record-holder Gnepa and junior Jazz Trice, who ranks third all time at UC Davis.
The 400m hurdles will feature new regional qualifier Thomas Phillips. It will also be the season debut for school record-holder Alex Wilright.
“We need some people out there,” Sees said. “It’s one of our only home meets. We got a lot of fast people on the track, good hurdlers, good runners. It’s going to be fun.“
– Alex Wolf-Root