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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Aggies looking for a strong finish

Track and field, which is considered by most as an individual sport, still has a championship that is in some ways defined by a team effort. While most distance runners, sprinters, throwers and jumpers participate in individual events, except for the relays, the success of the such individual events is also a success for the schools. One sprinter or thrower cannot win a Big West team title for the team. It takes a complete team effort of a stellar cast of athletes to claim that particular crown.

The Aggies hope that they have the particular group of athletes needed to win both men’s and women’s Big West Championships. The women in particular have recently put on a fine showing at the Causeway Duel, where they tied with Sacramento State in overall team points 94-94.

Sophomore Ashley Marshall raced her way to an incredible showing in the meet, as she ran to victory in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. Marshall put up blazing times of 11.48 seconds in the 100 and 24.11 seconds in the 200.

Sophomore Cekarri Nixon also competed well in the meet as she placed third in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints. With times of 11.94 and 24.63 seconds in the 100 and 200 respectively, Nixon looks to be in fine form just in time for the Big West Championships.

Sprinters are not the only runners who seem to be running well for the women’s team, as junior Alycia Cridebring has had an excellent season thus far. She is the current holder of the Big West Female Track Athlete of the Week distinction, and it is no surprise when looking at her times this season. Cridebring is the owner of the Big West and UC Davis records for the 5,000-meter run, posting the time of 15:49.05. She is ranked sixth in the NCAA West Region as well as 12th nationally.

In the Sacramento State Open, the last tune-up before the postseason, senior Tonie Williams ran a 55.62 in the 400-meters to clinch first place. She was just shy of her personal record of 55.45 seconds. Williams looks to be confident as she heads into the 400-meter race in the championship.

The women are in great shape to succeed in the Big West Championships, and so are the men, as they have posted some impressive numbers in the past few weeks leading up to the championship.

Sophomore Corey Hobbs placed fifth in the 100-meters in the Causeway Duel with a time of 10.88 seconds. He also had a strong 200-meter race, blazing his way to an outstanding time of 22.05, good enough for second place.

Senior Kaio Sena is also heading into the postseason races looking good, as he ran his season best time in the 200-meters, 21.86. Sena ran this in the Sacramento State Open and looks to be pumped and ready for an outstanding race in the Big West Championship.

Again, the strength of the Aggies’ team is not in one area, but in a wealth of talent spread throughout various events. Sophomore Trevor Ehlenbach is another example of this, as he won both his 800- and 1,500-meter runs with times of 1:53.44 and 3:51.95, respectively, in the Causeway Duel.

“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of carrying momentum and good health into the championship season,” said head coach Drew Wartenburg.

Indeed, the Aggies are definitely bringing the best performances and a great deal of momentum into the conference’s postseason event. UC Davis must rest up and make sure it is ready for some tough competition. With the top athletes in the conference entering the championship, the Aggies will need to produce some amazing scores and times in order to earn that Big West title.

The Big West Championships will start on Friday, May 10 and conclude on Sunday, May 12. Both of Friday and Saturday will be packed with events during the all-day meets. The championship will be held at Cal State Northridge’s track facilities.

In an interesting side note, UC Davis will be the host of the Big West Championships in 2014. Hopefully, big things are to come for the Aggies’ track team in the future.

KENNETH LING can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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