Track and field got a taste of what it can expect in fewer than three weeks when the team will be back at U.C. San Diego for the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships. While this past weekend’s meet wasn’t as important as the one in May, it was important in terms of the group’s continuing improvement.
CPP earned six NCAA provisional marks, with two coming from the men’s team and four from the women’s team.
An NCAA provisional mark denotes an athlete who has hit a time or distance that puts him or her in contention for qualification to the national championships.
The women’s 4×100-meter relay team of junior Zaria Francis, sophomore Ryanne Napoleon, senior Nia Vance and freshman Ayana Fields set a school record and won the event with a time of 46.58 seconds. Francis, Napoleon, Vance and Fields have raced together every time CPP has entered a 4×100 relay, according to assistant coach Darrell Smith Jr.
“Their handoffs are really solid, their understanding of their individual legs are good,” Smith said. “It was important for us to run fast on that track because that’s where conference will be.”
The group previously set a provisional mark earlier in the season and the latest time places the relay team third in the CCAA and 16th in the country. Smith is aiming for the group to run a 46-second time flat in order to qualify automatically for nationals.
“Just overall being faster all four legs which I think will come together,” Smith said about what the relay team can still improve on. “We need a half a second in there somewhere and I think we can pull it off.”
Vance had a busy and productive weekend, setting a provisional mark in triple jump with a leap of 11.93 meters, a personal best.
The mark was good enough for a fifth-place finish in the event. Vance’s performance in the triple jump was the third best in Cal Poly Pomona history.
In her 800-meter debut this season, senior Casey Monoszlay set an NCAA provisional mark, placing sixth in the event with a time of 2:10.49. Her time was the fourth best in school history in the event. Monoszlay already hit provisional marks in the 1,500 and 5,000-meter events earlier this season.
Freshman Ana Tovi rounded out the provisional marks for the women’s team with a throw of 47.89 meters in the discus event. The throw was good enough for a 12th place finish.
On the men’s side, freshman Ryan Fields placed third in the 400-meter hurdles and earned a provisional mark with a time of 52.67 seconds. In the same event, sophomore Kaelin Moore placed fifth and also earned a provisional mark with a time of 52.93 and finished fifth.
Last season, Moore was competing at a high level as a freshman just as Fields is doing this season. Smith credited the “internal competition” between the two as to why both have excelled this season.
“I think it’s important to have healthy competition and I fostered that, they handle it very well, they push each other at practice,” Smith said. “Ryan and Kaelin are at different points in their development but it’s a good mix for them and even with Keeon (Thomas) – he’s not running as fast as them but those three being able to train together at practice helps a lot.”
Track and field will be competing at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University, which starts this Wednesday and continues through Friday.
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