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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Williams shatters own hurdles record

Senior Sirena Williams continued her record-breaking season in the 100m hurdles on Saturday, as she clocked a 13.79 to break her week-old record of 13.83.

She finished sixth in the elite section, which was won by Olympic silver medalist Hyleas Fountain.

She ran the 400m hurdles [on Friday],said coach Deanne Vochatzer.It was cold and windy. Obviously, Sirena was pretty excited.

In the special distance festival the night before, a slew of distance runners impressed in the 5,000m under the lights.

The Aggies were led by senior Kaitlin Gregg, who competed unattached as she is redshirting this season. Gregg dominated the race, clocking 16:25.27 to win by over 25 seconds.

“We knew going into the race that I was probably going to have to do all the work up front,Gregg said.I took the lead right from the start and led wire to wire.

“While it’s nice to win by a big margin and be the front-runner, I don’t really enjoy running solo. It’s tough for me, both mentally and physically. I thrive in the big-race environment, so I hope that in a bigger, more competitive field I’ll be able to lower my time even more.

By redshirting this season, Gregg is staying eligible for her fifth year next season, as she looks toward making an impact at the national level. But it also means that this season she can’t race in an Aggie uniform and her times this season don’t count for the all-time UC Davis lists.

It’s pretty weird to be racing unattached,Gregg said.When I’m racing in uniform, I’m racing for the team, which is a big motivator. It’s been hard for me to find that same drive when I’m running unattached and just competing for myself. I don’t race in uniform again until next January, but I’ll be at conference and regionals cheering on the team.

The Aggies in uniform were freshman Sarah Sumpter (17:22.59) in ninth, sophomore Caitlin Fitzgerald (17:23.31) in 10th, freshman Krista Drechsler (17:45.80) in 17th and freshman Anna Smidebush (17:50.87) in 18th. Each of them set personal records in the process.

It felt incredibly satisfying to P.R. by 50 seconds from my previous 5,000m,Fitzgerald said.I was expecting improvement, but not by that much. I wanted to see if I could engage and compete over that distance without zoning out over the last mile as I seem prone to do.

Fitzgerald certainly won’t be zoning out in her specialty event: the 3,000m steeplechase.

“I think this performance will help my steeple,Fitzgerald said.My goals are simple: to P.R., to actually engage and be competitive when I race, to get the regional mark in the steeple and to score at conference.

Though Williams and distance crew overshadowed some of the other performances, there were a handful of other solid marks spread throughout the meet.

“Anikia Jackson did well in the javelin [42.36m] and her hurdles were a good mark for her [14.65],Vochatzer said. “Ugo Eke finally had a breakthrough in the 400m [55.26] after her ankle injury. It was a P.R. for her in the 400m, so that was huge for her today.

“Nicole Theus had been out for a while, so 12.27 wasn’t a great time for her, but we had to get out and get a race for her. And then Mina Mohamadi went 12.23. It was a crazy two days.

ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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