Though resting some of their stars, the UC Davis men’s track and field team had a solid day in their final home meet of the season, the Woody Wilson Classic.
“I thought the meet was really good,” said coach Jon Vochatzer. “If I had to throw a grade on there, I’d give it a B. We held a lot of folk out for various reasons: injury here, soreness there. But those who did run stepped up and competed. We competed with a lot of heart and soul.“
Junior Russ Pfaff started the meet strong by winning the second running event, the 3,000m steeplechase in 9:11.29 and leading an Aggie one-two-three sweep. Though he won by nearly 25 seconds, he narrowly missed the regional qualifying mark of 9:07.00, which he expects to get soon.
“The pace went out way slow,” Pfaff said, “and at a certain point, runner’s instinct just kicked in, and I knew it was time to go. And I got my three-peat for the Woody Wilson – three in a row for the steeple.“
Senior Poly Gnepa was the other Aggie to win on the track, as he continued his strong season in the 110m hurdles. He won the event in 14.16 – the fourth time he’s been under the regional qualifying mark this season.
“The plan for the race was to make it clean and quick in terms of technique,” Gnepa said. “I think repletion of drills will start to lower my time. I have to get to the point where everything becomes automatic and all I have to worry about is running fast. It should come pretty soon because I already feel that the races that I have been in are helping my technique a lot.“
The Aggies faired even better in the field, capturing four titles.
Junior Scott Pierro won a very close competition in the shot put as he threw 15.57m to second place’s 15.44m, though both were over a full meter ahead of third.
Sophomores Igor Seriba and Ray Green went one-two in the triple jump, reversing their finishing order from the home opener Aggie Open on Mar. 14.
In the high jump, Ben Nelson cleared 2.08m for the win and his fourth clearance of two meters or more this season.
The final Aggie win came in the discus throw where sophomore Jake Fuller – sporting a crowd-favorite mullet – threw 50.63m to win the competition. That gave him his first-ever 50-plus meter throw, setting a new season best for the Aggies. The distance was only 1.07 meters away from the regional qualifying mark.
“My best throw was my first throw in the finals,” Fuller said. “It felt like a far throw, but I had no idea where it went because I was super close to scratching – falling out the front of the ring – so I was worried about staying in. As for the regional mark, I think it will come very soon. There are some technique issues that I need to clean up at the end of my throw that should add a meter or two once I get sorted out.“
Fuller added that he believes he had something working in his favor at the Woody Wilson Classic
“I think that the mullet had a lot to do with my success,” Fuller said. “I’ve had it for a little over a week. It’s been awesome – it’s definitely a head turner.”
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.