It is a testament to junior Shane Martin’s season that a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships and being named an All-American was considered a disappointment.
Martin entered the weekend tied for third in the nation in the 110-meter hurdles with a career best 13.83 time that won him the event at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
“My expectation was I wanted to win, I feel like that’s everyone’s mindset,” Martin said. “Not placing top three kind of got to me but me placing All-American is great, I’m not complaining or mad at it.”
Martin’s 14.07 second time in the final on Saturday afternoon was an improvement on his time in the first round race the day before.
The top eight runners from three heats qualified for the final and Martin placed third in his heat with a time of 14.11 that just qualified him for the final in sixth.
“I was super anxious, my mom’s out here, I wanted to make sure I made finals,” Martin said.
“All the nerves and stuff kind of got to me.”
The first-round race took place on Friday at 3:40 p.m. pacific time and the final was less than 24 hours later at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday.
Martin watched video of his first-round race and received treatment from assistant athletic trainer Michael Anderson at the hotel in between races.
Martin attributed the improvement in his time to improving on the execution of one of the hurdles and staying forward during the race and having better body position throughout.
“I definitely could have ran faster, but I’m proud, I executed and I did what I had to do, this year just wasn’t my time,” Martin said.
In the final Martin ran from lane one because of his seeding from the first-round race, a position that he has seldom taken up this year because of his strong performances.
Martin described the difference in being in lane one as not having people around you to compete with like in lanes three, four and five.
“Lane one is a terrible lane in my opinion,” Martin said.
Martin was aiming to run a 13.65 this weekend in order to extend his season into June.
That time would have not only won him the National Championship but also qualified him for the U.S.A. Track and Field Outdoor Championships held in Des Moines, Iowa.
That meet is a professional meet comprised of runners from across the country regardless of division.
Cal Poly Pomona sent two other athletes to North Carolina for nationals in freshman Kaelin Moore and junior Araseli Servin.
Both missed out on a place in the finals of their events.
Servin placed 19th overall in the 3,000-meter steeple chase with a time of 10:58.22.
She would have needed to run a 10:36.64 to qualify for the final.
The qualifying mark was seven seconds faster than Servin’s career best time in the event.
In her heat, Servin stuck with the main pack of runners for five laps before losing steam in the last few laps.
“I just needed more strength in order to be able to keep up with them,” Servin said.
All year, Servin pointed to the sixth lap where she struggled to keep the pace from the previous laps and that trend continued on Thursday afternoon.
“I just need to be able to put in more miles in order to keep that sixth lap going,” Servin said.
Based on this year’s performance in nationals, Servin is confident that by next year she’ll be able to improve on her time and earn a spot in the final of nationals.
Going into the race Servin was aiming to run a specific time, but once the race began the focus shifted immediately to keeping pace with the main pack.
Moore placed 13th overall in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.54, less than one second slower than the time needed to qualify for the final.
For the first time, Moore completed the first five hurdles by getting 13 steps between each.
The effort it took to complete each of those hurdles in 13 steps took its toll in the latter stages of the race.
“I didn’t have enough energy in the race to finish as strong as I wanted to,” Moore said. “The next five hurdles were a lot harder to get through.”
The benefit of getting exactly 13 steps in between each hurdle is that Moore is able to jump over each hurdle with his lead leg instead of having to switch legs with each jump.
“If I went 14 I would alternate legs,” Moore said.
All three athletes will return next season and are favorites to once again qualify for Nationals.
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