With six meets remaining before the NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships, track and field has earned eight provisional marks as a team.
The eight athletes are spread across track and field, with four coming from the women’s team and four from the men’s team.
Hitting a provisional mark in track and field means an athlete is considered by the NCAA for a place in the national meet.
An automatic mark earns an athlete an automatic place at the meet.
At this point, no CPP athlete has hit an automatic mark.
“I like where we’re at,” first-year coach Chris Bradford said. “Having eight provisional marks early, it’s a start. We’re expecting every week to have more … have more people not only get provisional marks but improve their provisional marks each week.”
The last day to qualify for the National Championships is May 12 and, on that day, teams will declare who they want to compete in each event.
The NCAA committee then reviews the provisional marks and sets a cut-off line for invitation to the meet for each event.
One of the earliest provisional marks set this season for the Broncos came at the first meet of the season at the Rossi Relays.
Senior Hannah Stueve set a personal best in women’s pole vault with a vault of 11 feet, 11 and three-fourths inches, a quarter of an inch above the provisional mark in women’s pole vault.
Her previous high mark while at Cal Poly Pomona came in the 2016 California Collegiate Athletic Association Outdoor Championships where she completed an 11’2 ½ vault.
At Marysville High School, Stueve’s best vault was a 11’7.
Stueve credited Bradford, who also coaches the pole vaulters, with her improvement.
“He’s put in a lot of work, he’s helped us out a great amount and that obviously showed in my first meet,” Stueve said.
Navigating a successful vault is dependent on executing different elements that each affect the jump.
Some of those elements include the run up, take off, and the position of the pole prior to the vault.
“Each part of the pole vault movement, you can tell if you are going to do good,” Stueve said. “That’s what I love about pole vault, you know when you do something wrong because it’s going to affect your jump.”
Stueve competed in long jump, hurdles and pole vault in high school and part of her time at CPP before recurring shin splints forced her to focus on pole vaulting.
Stueve’s dad pole vaulted in high school and served as Stueve’s coach in high school.
“Because of him doing it in high school, he was like, ‘you’ve got to try it, I think you’ll be good at it,’” Stueve said. “I’ll remember the first day for the rest of my life when I picked up a pole and just ran down the runway, it was just an amazing feeling.”
Despite her provisional mark, Stueve believes she’ll have to jump higher to earn a berth to nationals. She is aiming to complete a 13-foot vault before graduating.
Stueve has reached the limit with the pole she is currently using and will have to use a larger pole to reach her goal.
According to Bradford, one of the team’s surprises has been freshman Kaelin Moore who set a provisional mark in the 400-meter hurdles.
“He’s come a long way,” Bradford said. “His high school marks didn’t show that he was going to do this, but he’s worked his tail off … you look at him run now and you’re like, ‘the sky’s the limit for this kid.’”
Of the eight provisional marks, Bradford believes junior Shane Martin’s mark in the 110 meter hurdles is enough to qualify for nationals.
The other seven would need to improve on their times.
Bradford highlighted a number of athletes who are on the cusp of adding to the provisional marks including some of the women’s distance runners and male pole vaulters.
“We expect definitely more to be on the list,” Bradford said.
Next week track and field is back at UC San Diego for the second week running, this time for the Triton Invitational.
The week after, the team will once again compete at two meets in one weekend.
First at the Mt. Sac Relays and the next day at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University.
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