The UC Davis men’s track and field team traveled only 15 athletes to Southern California.
That’s all they would need to make an impact.
The Aggies impressed as they picked up some big-meet experience at the Mt. SAC Relays and Bryan Clay Invitational over the weekend.
Saturday – Mt. SAC Relays
Senior Polly Gnepa captured the 110m hurdles – edging school record holder Jazz Trice for a UC Davis one-two finish – to highlight the meet in Walnut, Calif. Gnepa clocked in at 13.99 to become only the second Aggie to break the 14-second barrier, a barrier that he has been threatening for the last two years.
“It was great,” Gnepa said. “It was like a sigh of relief that I finally did it. I have been at it for a long time now and I kept telling myself it would happen. All I needed was to have a good, clean race.“
Trice finished second in 14.10, continuing the Aggies‘ season-long success in the 100m hurdles.
“We have been finishing in really good places at the meets we’ve been in,” Gnepa said. “I think our success should carry on into conference and to regionals. We are both on the same team, so as long as the two top spots say UC Davis, then it’s fine.“
The 1,500m crew impressed as well, as Russ Pfaff dominated his heat in 3:48.08, the third-fastest time ever at UC Davis. Though starting out near the back and being forced to run wide, Pfaff had a great last lap, taking the lead with about 200m to go to win by over a second.
“I just ran away from everybody,” Pfaff said. “If I was in the faster heat, I would’ve run a lot faster – I was 0.28 off regionals. I feel really confident. Next week I’m racing the steeple. I’m definitely going to get [the regional mark] next week.“
In the same heat, sophomore Jonathan Peterson clocked a 3:52.84 to take 10th. In the next heat, junior Jon Sees came in at 3:51.09 to finish second.
Saturday – Bryan Clay Invitational
Five field eventers competed just a few miles away from the Mt. SAC Relays. Their performances were highlighted by sophomore Ross Tate’s 2.00m clearance in the high jump, which was good enough to tie for third.
Pole vaulters Ethan Ostrom and Jamie Feaster tied for fourth, though with a clearance of only 4.75m.
“I thought the crew that went to Bryan Clay had a good meet,” assistant coach Byron Talley said. “It was a hard meet to go to, considering that 4 miles away all the officials and all the crowds were at Mt. SAC.
“We were kind of the stepchild over at Azusa, but I think everyone did their job in competing well and getting that experience.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.