Broncos make last push for conference championships

By Andrew Gordo

Fifteen Broncos on the Cal Poly Pomona track and field teams have been ranked in the top 25 in their respective individual events for the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships coming up in three weeks.

Among the 15 vying for a spot in the national championships in Allendale, Michigan are: Louis Martin III, who ranks 11th in the 100-meter; Mark Huizar, who ranks 12th in 5,000 meter; Justin Ellerbee and Rodger Mantor, who respectively rank second and fourth in pole vault; Tiffany Gray, who ranks 10th in shot put; and Erin Zwinger who ranks 11th in the heptathlon.

Both the men and women’s teams traveled to UC San Diego to participate in the Triton Invitational on Friday and Saturday in one last push before California Collegiate Athletic Association championships.

Throughout the two-day meet, the men and women’s teams were able to produce top 15 finishers in both running and throwing events.

The main highlight was in the shot put and discus events, where junior Nina Pritchett jumped up into the record books. In the shot put, Pritchett recorded a throw of 42-11.75, placing her 11th all-time. In the discus, not only did she improve her ‘B’ provisional qualifier with a throw of 149-3, but she also moved up to sixth all-time in that event.

The women’s team also did well in multiple events, including the pole vault, javelin throw and high jump. They had five athletes finish within the top 15 in those events. Junior pole-vaulter Makayla Jacoub placed the highest, earning the 10th spot by clearing 11-15 feet.

Just four spots behind Jacoub were teammates junior Frances Barnes and Kimberly Amaya, who finished tied for 15th with a clearance of 10-67 feet.

In the javelin throw, junior Tiffany Tate ended up at the 12th spot after a throw of 139 feet. In the high jump, senior Jessica Giacolleti placed 13th after reaching a height of 5-18 feet.

The men’s team also had some solid performances at the meet, specifically in the pole vault event.

Junior Adrian Ramirez placed eighth after clearing the bar at 14-67 feet. Along with the pole vault open, the Broncos also did well in the pole vault invitational, where seniors Austin Allen and Allen Black placed seventh and eighth after clearing the bar at 15-58 feet.

Though the men placed better in the field events, they also did well in the 110-hurdles running event with two runners finishing in the top 20.

Junior Marcus Romo was able to finish the event in 16th place with a time of 15.18 seconds, while his teammate junior Jordan Morris was able to finish 18th with a time of 15.76.

The entire CPP track and field team showed well at the Triton Invitational, and had some great preparation for upcoming meets.

Head coach Octavious Gillespie-Bennett shared his thoughts about his team and any advice he gives them.

“As a coach, I’m really happy that our team is progressing,” said Gillespie-Bennett. “We’re getting better. There’s more people getting provisional qualifiers, and hopefully we have a lot of national qualifiers this year. In terms of advice, we just tell them to have fun and let them do what they’ve trained all season to do.”

Although the national championships are three weeks away, the Broncos still have another important meet ahead: the CCAA Championships.

“Preparation is pretty much done at this point, it’s all mental now,” said Gillespie-Bennett. “It’s about getting in the right space, getting prepared for the end of the year competition and getting them ready to work together to try to win a conference championship.”

Both the men and women’s teams will return to action on Thursday in the championships, hosted by the San Francisco State Gators at Cox Stadium.


Hayden Yi / The Poly Post


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