Lane eight is not where a sprinter wants to start. The outer lanes are reserved for the slower seeded athletes, while the runners expected to win are usually found in lanes four or five.
With 100 meters left in the men’s 400-meter hurdles race, freshman Ryan Fields, who started in lane eight, sat in fourth place with three hurdles left.
Fifty meters later, Fields took the lead and held on for the win. His time of 53.77 seconds was a personal best and ranks third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Cal Poly Pomona was the only Division II school at the UC Irvine Collegiate Classic. Division I schools made up the rest of the competitors.
“It was a really solid meet for us. The weather for the first time was really cooperative,” head coach Chris Bradford said. “There was really good competition at every event and it was a good meet.”
After Fields, sophomore Kaelin Moore placed fourth with a time of 54.87 seconds in the men’s 400-meter hurdles race. Senior Keeon Thomas finished eighth with a time of 56.16 seconds.
In women’s triple jump, junior Nia Vance placed third with a jump of 11.81 meters on her first attempt.
“We were the only Division II school at the whole entire meet. We did well and were very much in the mix for each event,” Vance said.
Vance also placed second in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.54 seconds.
Senior Christian Rodriguez placed eighth out of 29 in the men’s 1500-meter race and set a personal record with a time of 3 minutes, 54.63 seconds.
“The race started off relatively fast and my objective was to get well-positioned from the get go. I placed myself in third position and I held that for about the start of the third lap,” Rodriguez said. “From there, people made many moves to move forward …. Placement-wise I did not accomplish what I wanted to do, but in terms of time, I was able to run a personal record, so I was content with the race.”
In the women’s 200-meter race, sophomore Zaria Francis placed third with a time of 24.86 seconds.
Freshman Ayana Fields finished just behind Francis in fourth with a time of 24.90 seconds.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay team of senior Chris Uzoma, Thomas, Fields and Moore, finished third with a time of 3:15.97.
Freshman Rahmie Sharif placed fourth in the men’s 200-meter race with a time of 22.37 seconds.
“Track and field is a very different sport from a lot of others. No matter what people run around you, you are really competing against yourself,” Bradford said.
The Broncos will compete in San Diego this weekend at the Aztec Invitational and at the Point Loma Invitational.
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