Two athletes reach finals in year’s last meet

By Erik Carr

After three days of events, four athletes from the Cal Poly
Pomona track and field team competed in their final meet of the
2011 season, the NCAA Div. II Championships in Turlock, in which
one athlete earned All-American status.

“I think we did a great job,” said head coach Troy Johnson. “All
four of them went up there to compete and put forth their best
efforts.”

The meet concluded for Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday night when
junior Jacob Deavers ran in the men’s 400-meter hurdles final,
finishing in seventh with a time of 54.81 seconds and earning
All-American status.

“[I’m] pretty excited,” Deavers said. “Coming in ranked 16th and
coming out with that, that was my goal with the meet.”

Deavers ran a personal-best 52.26 in the prelims on Thursday
night, finishing sixth place overall and second in his heat, to
qualify for the final.

“The one that got me into the final, I was super pumped for
because I got my P.R. in that one,” Deavers said. “The final, I
could’ve done better, but I still got ‘All-American,’ so I’m still
happy for that.”

Before Deavers’ race on Thursday, junior Tramieka Thomas started
the Broncos off in the women’s long jump prelim.

Despite fouling on her first two attempts, Thomas leaped a
distance of 17-7 1/2 on her third attempt to finish 16th overall.
She did not qualify for the final.

“Overall, over the weekend, I felt that my performances could
have been better because I did not perform the way that I thought I
would,” Thomas said. “But I’m so excited and thankful for being
able to go to nationals for two events.”

On Friday night, freshman Heather Corder and Thomas competed in
the prelim for the women’s 100 hurdles.

Corder finished 11th overall with a time of 14.03 while Thomas
finished in 17th with a time of 14.72, finishing three and nine
spots outside of a qualifying spot, respectively.

“I was really happy with it. I was just off my P.R. by
four-hundredths [of a second] so I was happy about that, and I got
11th in the nation so I was happy about that as well.”

Saturday action began for the Broncos at noon with senior Lance
Walkington in the men’s javelin throw.

Walkington’s best throw measured 207-6 to finish fourth overall.
It occurred during the fifth round.

In spite of being 12th overall after a first-round distance of
174-0, Walkington’s next throw moved him into fifth (202-1) and
marked the largest leap in placing during the event.

However, junior Nick Howe of UC San Diego, Walkington’s rival
throughout the season, took first in the event with a throw of
231-3.

“For me, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Walkington said. “I
was hoping to be up there with Nick [Howe] in the high-220s, the
high-230s but ” being ranked fourth coming in, [I] can’t complain
about that, and then, even beating the guy that was seeded No.
1.”

This meet marked the final one of Walkington’s collegiate
career, but he is pleased with how he performed during his final
season.

“It was a good season,” Walkington said. “Coming off an injury
last year, being told I need to have surgery before I throw again
and basically just rehabbing that injury to try to compete, to be
able to P.R. with such a big distance compared to the last time
that I competed, that definitely makes for a great season.”

Looking back on this season, Johnson was pleased with his team’s
performance.

“I liked what our whole program did this whole year,” Johnson
said. “We’re making great strides in from becoming a participatory
program to a competitive program, and we’re being more and more
competitive each year.

“This year, this track season, we did a great job, and as well
as cross-country season, we did a great job.”

Johnson said the track and field team’s overall performance will
be beneficial to its recruiting efforts.

“It’s good for our program,” Johnson said. We’ll get more.
Hopefully, we’ll grow and be more competitive. Overall, I think the
program, it’s definitely going in the right direction.

“I would think alumni and Cal Poly faculty, staff, students
would be proud of what has been accomplished by these guys this
year.”

Thomas, Corder and Deavers not only hope to return to the
championships next year, but also aim to either finish higher or
compete in more events.

“I hope to make it into the 4×1[00 relay] and the 4×4[00 relay]
and the 100 hurdles next year,” Corder said.

Thomas hopes more athletes will reach the championships and that
she will compete in more events.

“Hopefully, as a team, more than four of us will go,” Thomas
said. “I’m hoping that [the women’s] 4×1[00] will go, and I will
go, individually, for long jump, triple jump and hurdles. And I’m
sure that the men’s team will come back with ” more than two guys
as well.”

Deavers said he has just one mission for next year.

“To be national champion for the hurdles; that’s my goal,”
Deavers said.

Looking into next season, Johnson hopes his track and field team
does even better.

“First thing is we’re going to get some rest,” Johnson said.
“Then, we’ll get back, and start it up again. That same mindset is
to definitely push forth to be more competitive and collect more
accolades, academically and athletically. That’s what we want to
do.”

Two athletes reach finals in year

Jonny Tai / The Poly Post

Two athletes reach finals in year’s last meet

Two athletes reach finals in year

Jonny Tai / The Poly Post

Two athletes reach finals in year’s last meet

Two athletes reach finals in year

Jonny Tai / The Poly Post

Two athletes reach finals in year’s last meet

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