UC Davis track and field is now preparing for the NCAA West Prelims at the University of Texas following a competitive run at the Big West Conference Championships on May 15 to 16. Solidifying their season, both the women’s and men’s teams fought their way into the top five at the UC Riverside track facility, earning second and fifth place, respectively.
UC Davis women’s track and field broke their three-year long winning streak, but took home numerous records in place of the championship banner. Senior sprinter Ashley Marshall won first place in the 100 and 200 meter dashes for the third year in a row, becoming the first female in the history of the conference to win each event for three consecutive years. Marshall had times of 11.52 and 23.45, respectively. Senior middle distance runner Raquel Lambdin became the first female in conference history to take first place in both the 800 and 1500 meter events in the same championship. Solidifying times of 2:06.24 and 4:17.09 respectively, Lambdin was less than a second away from toppling the conference record set by Trena Hull of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1987.
Following Marshall by less than a second in the 200 meter was senior sprinter Cekarri Nixon, who secured a 23.74 and another second place title in the 400 meter dash. More top three finishes for the Aggie women included sophomore distance runner Rianna Goins’ third place in the 800 meter and sophomore distance runner Clara MacLeod’s third place finish in the 5,000 meter. Senior thrower Veronica Smart also finished third in the shot put event.
For the men, senior middle distance runner Nathan Strum posted a second place finish in the 800 meter with 1:50.52 and a close third place in the 1500 meter event with 3:54.72. Times sat uncomfortably close for the top 3 finishers of the 1500 meter, who finished within less than a second of one another. Senior sprinter Marcus Johnson took third place in the 100 meter, while junior distance runner Trevor Halsted secured another third in the 5,000 meter. Junior sprinter Jason Chandler finished as second runner-up in the 400 meter hurdles. The men’s team improved to fifth this year after an eighth place finish in 2014.
“The performance was incredible,” said UC Davis Director of Track and Field Rahn Sheffield following the event. “We took enough wins. We just didn’t have the number[s] behind us. We’ve suffered too many injuries on the way to the championship, and that’s what hurt us. This team competed very well, and I can’t say enough about them. These athletes showed up. We were just out-numbered and we have to do a better job of managing our athletes through the year so those injuries will not affect our performance at the level of a championship.”
Second and third place title holder Strum agreed.
“I had an achilles injury, so I was spending a lot of time before the races getting treated. I waited too long to make my move and I had a lot of energy left at the end, so that was a little frustrating.”
Long Beach State went on to take the first place banner for the men’s at Big West, while CSU Northridge dethroned the Aggies for first place standing on the women’s side.
Following the final meet, Marshall was named conference’s women’s track athlete of the year for the third consecutive year. The Aggies will perform at the NCAA West Preliminary beginning Wednesday in Austin, Texas.