Junior Anikia Jackson became the first heptathlete in school history to score points at the Big West Conference Championships, taking fourth with a score of 4,821.
A Bakersfield College transfer, Jackson’s total gives the Aggies five points heading into the main Big West Championships meet this weekend in Irvine, Calif.
Jackson was joined at the meet by freshman Johanne Boulat, who took 10th in the event with a score of 4,213 – 62 points better than her previous personal best.
Just across the Causeway, some Aggies were picking up experience at the Sacramento State Open in preparation for this week’s conference meet. After last week’s rain-soaked Causeway Classic, UC Davis was able to post some good marks this time out.
“I’m really glad that we went back over after the disaster last Friday,” coach Deanne Vochatzer said. “I’m really pleased about that.“
Highlighting the meet at Sacramento State was senior Sirena Williams. Williams made true on her promise to keep lowering her record in the 100m hurdles, as she took second in 13.76.
She was so close to first that the scorers had to go to thousandths of a second to determine a winner; Williams missed out on first place by just eight thousandths.
One heat later, freshman Suzanne Howard and sophomore Ofunne Okwudiafor shattered the 15-second barrier for the first time in their careers, clocking 14.76 and 14.80, respectively.
Howard finished in a rare three-way tie for seventh, while Okwudiafor took 10th place.
“I usually never set goals,” Howard said. “I usually just run it, but today was different. I told myself that I wanted a sub-15 time, because my last time was 15.08.
“I felt that I’ve been getting better these past few weeks – that things were finally starting to click together. I felt good during warm-ups.… Freshman year had its ups and downs with track, but now it’s all ups.“
Though resting many athletes, the Aggies took home a win when junior Ugo Eke destroyed the field in the 400m. Though clocking 55.40 to second place’s 56.61, Eke wasn’t fully satisfied. She looks to post an even faster time at the Big West Championships.
“I need to step my game up at conference,” Eke said. “I only have one chance to get it right, so I’m going to leave it all on the track. I’m going for the regional mark of 54.60.“
Also in the 400m, senior Willa Porter and freshman Eloycsia Ratliff clocked 48.82 to tie for fourth. Porter took fourth in Eke’s heat, while Ratliff won hers by a solid .66 seconds.
The Aggies also had some top finishes in the field events. Junior Stephanie Eckels led the way in the long jump with a personal best and Aggie season-leading mark of 5.65m – just .32m off the win.
In the javelin, junior Brit Bickel took second with a throw of 39.14m. Not far behind was sophomore Sebastiana Hernandez, who finished in fourth with a throw of 30.63m.
Next up for the Aggies is the Big West Championships on Friday and Saturday.
UC Davis didn’t do as well as it would have hoped at conference last year. This year, though, the Aggies are ready.
“I have a lot better feeling this year than I did going in last year,” Vochatzer said. “Anikia got five points by placing fourth, so that’s big for us. It’s a very tough conference, but I’m excited for a change.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.