By Enrique Cervantes
The Cal Poly Pomona track and field teams finished conference competition strongly this weekend at the CCAA Championships, with a handful of top finishes on both the men’s and women’s sides.
“They were prepared, very competitive,” said head coach Octavious Gillespie-Bennett. “They really fought for every point and worked hard for the team. All the coaches were happy with the kids’ performance.”
On the women’s side, CPP was led by senior thrower Samantha Swanson, senior sprinter Heather Corder and junior heptathlon athlete Erin Zwinger.
Swanson dominated all around in her events. In the hammer throw, she finished in first place with a mark of 165. She also finished first in the discus throw, with a mark of 151-6, a new personal record for her.
“I feel good about [my performance],” said Swanson. “I was really happy to hold on to my first places in both events.”
On the track side of things, Corder finished first place in the prelims for the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.07 seconds, which is a new PR for her. In the finals, Corder finished first with a time of 14.42 seconds.
Zwinger finished with 4,841 points in the heptathlon. The heptathlon, which is composed of seven events, some of which are 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash. Zwinger’s strong finish led to a new PR for her this season.
“[There were] a lot of PR’s and a lot of great performances,” said Gillepsie-Bennett. “Heather stepped up and showed that she’s still got it. All our conference champions stepped up.”
Across the board, the Broncos were highly competitive. Junior Jessica Giacoletti finished first in the high jump with a mark of 5-5.25. Junior thrower Tiffany Gray threw a mark of 44-9.75 in shot put, finishing in first place and setting a new PR.
As a team, the women finished in fourth place in the CCAA.
Over on the men’s side, the Broncos were led by their 4×100 relay team, a handful of sprinters, and their pole vaulters, Justin Ellerbee and Austin Allen.
The 4×100 team, composed of senior Robert Weathers, junior James Weiner, senior Louis Martin III, and freshman Austin Braunschweiger, continued their strong ride the last couple of weeks. They improved their time to 40.95 seconds, but finished in second place.
The biggest strength for the men’s team was their pole vaulting. Ellerbee and Allen finished first and second, respectively. Allen had a mark of 16-0.75 and was named the CCAA Newcomer of the Year. Ellerbee posted a mark of 17-5.
Not only did Ellerbee top his own school record once again, but he also set the CCAA Championship record in the pole vault. Ellerbee is now ranked No. 2 in the nation.
“It felt beyond amazing,” said Ellerbee. “I honestly haven’t been that excited about something in my track and field career.”
Coach Gillespie-Bennett praised the amount of work Ellerbee has done all season.
“He’s been consistent all year,” said Gillespie-Bennett. “He’s only lost one meet. Every week he comes out, focused and prepared, and takes care of business.”
Like the women’s team, the men’s team was in the thick of things all three days. Senior James Gonzalez finished in second in the high jump, Weiner finished in third place in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash and junior Mike Hollis and sophomore Kyle Goodenough finished third and fourth in the men’s decathlon.
As a whole, the men finished in third place in the CCAA.
The Broncos will have one last chance to qualify for nationals next week at the Oxy Invite on May 10, held at Occidental College.
CPP soars at Conference
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