Spring Quarter’s no vacation for track and field

LUCY KNOWLES / AGGIE FILE

April looks busy for UC Davis track and field team

Spring has finally arrived, and at UC Davis the turning of the season brings with it the most competitive meets of the Aggies’ track and field schedule. With several meets already under their belt this season, the Aggies look to utilize this early competition experience to fuel success in coming matches.

The Aggie Open — UC Davis’ first home meet, which took place back on March 11 — was a definitive success for the team. Both the UC Davis men’s and women’s teams won their respective competitions, defeating the likes of Sacramento State, Saint Mary’s and Nevada. Standout performances came from all over the event schedule. Three Aggies earned top-four finishes in the women’s 100 meter, led by sophomore sprinter Natsumi McGee, who finished first. The women also saw success in the field events, as UC Davis athletes finished first in pole vault, triple jump, hammer throw and discus throw. For the men, junior sprinter Brian Thomas carried the day, with first-place finishes in both the 200 meter and 400 meter runs.

Experience is something that the team does not lack — 27 of the team’s 86 athletes are seniors, and plenty of them are stars. The senior sister tandem of Rianna and Olivia Goins have been successful in their distance events so far this season: Rianna was named Big West Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Week on March 14 and Olivia placed first in her section of the 3,000 meter steeplechase at San Francisco State on Friday, March 31. For the men, seniors Jordan Rushing and Nick Ratto have been especially impressive. Both Rushing and Ratto placed in the top 10 of their respected long-distance events at the first day of the Stanford Invitational this past Friday, and Rushing finished first in the 2,000 meter steeplechase at the Aggie Open last month.

Make no mistake: the Aggies possess a wealth of young talent as well. A contingent of UC Davis athletes competed at Las Vegas on March 18, when freshman star sprinter Kierra Davis showed off her athleticism in the 200 meter and 100 meter runs, in which she currently ranks third and fifth in the conference, respectively. Junior sprinter Emma Redick also had an impressive showing in Las Vegas, where her time in the 400 meter hurdles placed her at the top of the conference in that event.

The season’s pace has continued to accelerate. Last weekend, the Aggies faced grueling competition from athletes all over the country in three separate events located in the Bay Area and in Sacramento. A fairly quick turnaround will have the Aggies travel out to the desert to compete in the Mesa Classic and the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State, beginning Friday. From here, the Aggies will have several other key meets in the month of April, including the Woody Wilson Classic on April 14 and 15 in Davis. The Aggies will also participate in meets in Long Beach, Azusa and Berkeley, to name a few, before they begin competing for the Big West Championships in May.

April looks to be a grueling month for the UC Davis track and field team, but the depth and talent that the team seems to possess early on in this season might be enough to carry these athletes to springtime glory come May.
Written by: Dominic Faria — sports@theaggie.org