Bronco athletes cross the finish line

By Erik Carr

Upon the conclusion of the NCAA Div. II Championships, the Cal
Poly Pomona track and field team completed the 2011 season.

Regardless of whether the Broncos’ respective performances met
or did not meet their expectations, each athlete has a reason to
celebrate.

With his sixth-place finish in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in
which he ran a personal-best 52.26 seconds, junior Jacob Deavers
gave the Broncos their first spot in a finals race since Jonathan
Williams qualified for the men’s 100 final in 2009.

Deavers earned All-American status with his seventh-place finish
in the men’s 400 hurdles final (54.81).

Junior Tramieka Thomas competed in two events (the women’s long
jump and the women’s 100 hurdles). She is the first Cal Poly Pomona
athlete to compete in more than one event since 2009 when Brian
Roser competed in the men’s 4×400 relay and the men’s 400
hurdles.

Freshman Heather Corder ran a 14.03 and came just three spots
away from making the finals of the women’s 100 hurdles.

Senior Lance Walkington, an All-American, gave the Broncos
another strong performance in the men’s javelin throw with his best
toss measuring 207-6 to finish fourth in the meet.

The championship meet’s conclusion simultaneously marks the
beginning of the offseason, when recruiting becomes the coaching
staff’s highest priority.

There are 12 seniors (two women and 10 men) leaving the Broncos
due to maxing out their NCAA eligibility.

Among those athletes are Walkington and senior distance runner
Jersain Torres for the men’s team and senior distance runner Sarah
Garcia and senior thrower Ileana Tejada of the women’s team.

They combined for 35 spots in 20 different events. Of those 20
events, the athlete with the top mark was a senior in 12 of them,
the second-best mark in seven events and the third-best mark in
three.

During the offseason, the Broncos will need to accomplish a lot
in the realm of recruiting.

First and foremost, they will need sprinters for the men’s
team.

Carter Griffin and Corey Arnold were the top two finishers,
respectively, in the men’s 100, 200 and 400 for the Broncos.

Head coach Troy Johnson and his staff will need to recruit
runners with speed over short distances while the veteran athletes
need to step up through quality training during the offseason.

Secondly, the women need a good thrower.

Ileana Tejada was not only the best thrower for the Broncos, she
was the throwing team, giving the Broncos their only performances
in the women’s shot put, discus and hammer throw.

Next, the Broncos will need runners with endurance.

Four of the 12 seniors are distance runners (Garcia, Mariano
Baez, Matt Prentice, Torres) and will need successors to step up.
This is especially true for Torres, who had the top mark for Cal
Poly Pomona in the men’s 1,500, the 3,000 steeplechase and the
10,000 and the second-best mark in the 5,000.

Finally, the men’s team needs a presence in the field.

The Broncos will lose their best athletes in the javelin
(Walkington), the high jump (Neil Macrorie) and the pole vault
(Derek Wong). Macrorie also had the second-best mark in the
javelin.

If Johnson and his staff recruit with these facts in mind, they
should have a very good showing in 2012.

Based on the great performances that the Broncos had at the
championship meet, hopefully this will influence the Athletic
Department and alumni to make the construction of a new track and
field facility a higher priority.

The message that has been put forward with the performances of
Corder, Thomas, Deavers and Walkington at the championship meet is
this:

The Broncos did very well with the subpar facilities that they
had to work with. If more funding was put into remodeling the track
and field facility, imagine how much better they could do if that
was made a reality.

Cal Poly Pomona has one of the most likeable crop of coaches
anyone could ask for, and it is for this reason that students
continue to come to this institution.

A new facility for the track and field program would not only be
a well-deserved gift to its coaching staff but would also be a
generous gift to the athletes that represent Cal Poly Pomona.

Erik Carr

Erik Carr

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