Known for hosting some of the top track and field events in the United States, Eugene, Ore. will be home to the NCAA Track and Field Championships in less than a month. UC Davis, named the Big West Team of the Year, will send three top-tier athletes to compete in multiple events.
Standout performances from sophomore sprinter Ashley Marshall, middle-distance runners senior Lauren Wallace and sophomore Katie Fry during the NCAA West Regionals, held at the University of Texas, displayed why the Aggies have had tremendous success this season. These three women were a big part of the team’s success throughout the year. During the preliminary rounds each of the runners demonstrated their abilities to cope with weather setbacks.
“After hours of protracted weather delays, we stressed the importance of focusing on the task at hand rather than worrying about the conditions or the later hours,” said head coach Drew Wartenburg.
The three took coach Wartenburg’s advice and ran well in their races. Marshall finished with the eighth fastest time in the 100-meter dash at the meet, with a time of 11.70 seconds. Wallace raced well and earned the second-fastest time in the 800 with a time of 2:04.05. Finally, Fry’s time of 9:58.97 set a school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Along with the successful trio, seniors Melanise Chapman, Kayla Carter and Emily Bush also competed in Austin, Texas.
“Reaching this round in postseason is gradually becoming the norm in our program, and the staff remains proud of all the athletes that represented UC Davis here this week,” Wartenburg said.
Last season, the team sent a program-high of two runners, which was the most the program had ever had compete since moving to Division I in 2008. With three qualifiers this season, the Aggies continue to make strides toward becoming a perennial contender in track and field. There are high hopes for Marshall, Wallace and Fry at Nationals, along with great expectations for continued growth in the seasons to come.
— Sloan Boettcher