Will Guthrie and Robert Neely became the first two Aggie decathletes to score at the Big West Conference Championships in Irvine, Calif. on Saturday, placing sixth and eighth, respectively.
The scoring combo gives UC Davis four points heading into the full Big West Championships this weekend.
“We went in with zero points last year,” said women’s coach Deanne Vochatzer. “Going in now with sixth and eighth – that’s big for us. I think we are going to pop some really good stuff down there. The weather’s going to be good, and we’re probably 95 percent healthy. I don’t think you can ask for more than that.“
Closer to home, senior Jamie Feaster set a personal best in the pole vault at the Sacramento State Open. He cleared 5.05m, besting his old mark by .15m. That clearance was good enough for third in the meet, and was only the second time he had even cleared 4.75m.
“Going into the meet,” Feaster said, “I knew I had a chance of hitting the mark. I had a good practice this past week. I knew the competition was going to be steep. …I just tuned out most of the meet and what was going on around me. There was one thing on my mind and it was clearing [5.05m].“
By clearing 5.05m, Feaster will join freshman Ethan Ostram at the West Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore. on May 29.
“It was a great feeling to share the moment with my teammates, family and [assistant coach] Byron [Talley],” Feaster said. “My goal now is to vault 5.20m at conference and be in the running for the win. My ultimate goal is to represent UC Davis at regionals by placing to finish my career on a high note.“
The Aggies saw other top marks in the field. Sophomore Ed Orgon led the way in the shot put, narrowly cracking the 16m-barrier for the first time in his career. He finished third with a distance of 16.01m.
“It was my most consistent performance of the season, which is good going into conference,” Orgon said. “When I realized that, I knew it was going to be a big one. Sixteen meters has been a goal of mine all year, so it was huge to get past this barrier. I’m looking to going even further next week at Big West.“
One place behind Orgon was junior Scott Pierro, who threw 15.65m. Pierro also set a personal best in the discus, tossing 45.76 for sixth.
In the javelin, freshman Brock Bennett took third with a personal-best 58.64m, taking over the Aggie season lead. The previous leader, junior Lance Walkington, took fourth in 55.60m.
The Aggies also had success in the horizontal jumps, with Ray Green and Tolu Wusu hitting season-best jumps to take second and third, respectively, in a very closely contested long jump competition.
A tired Wusu then doubled back in the triple jump, taking second (14.48m) to teammate Igor Seriba (14.54m).
Not to be outdone was some excitement on the track, especially in the 400m hurdles. In a two-man race from the start: school record-holder Alex Wilright against school No. 2 all-timer Thomas Phillips.
The two were neck and neck the entire time, with Phillips holding off Wilright down the final straight. Phillips (51.29) beat Wilright (51.69) for the first time – a fact Wilright had no problem sharing. Nolan Frazier was also in the race, taking fourth in 54.06.
Though many athletes sat out, the flat sprints also brought some bright spots the Aggies‘ way.
“In his first week back after [missing time due to] a hamstring injury six months ago, Matt Council ran 48.63 [to win the 400m],” Vochatzer said. “We’ve had on kid gloves with him, so for him to run like that today is good. Then Micah [Grant] dropping down a 21.75 [for third in the 200m] was great. We’re showing that we are ready to go to conference.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at email@example.com.