Indoor track debuts in New Mexico

The Cal Poly Pomona women’s track and field team sprinted to success at its very first indoor track and field meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

The Broncos competed at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational on Jan. 24-25 at the Alburquerque Convention Center.

The team took flight to New Mexico right after its 2 p.m. practice on Jan. 23 to prepare for the start of history for CPP.

Adding indoor track and field has given the opportunity for more athletes to shine and this weekend justified that. 

The Broncos had to adjust to the elevation, the different distance of events and the 200 meter track.

Sophomore sprinter Ayana Fields crossed the line in 56 seconds and 14 miliseconds to place third out of 40 competitors in the event of the 400- meter dash on Friday. 

Fields’ groundbreaking performance landed her a Division II (DII) National Collegiate Athletic Association provisional-qualifying mark. 

Fields also ran a 24.79 in the 200-meter dash, placing 20th out of 92 runners. Due to the altitude conversion  Francis just missed the provisional mark.

“I felt pretty great about my performance. I kind of expected to run a faster time but it is what it is. Hopefully next time, I will be able to run even faster and get a better time,” Fields said. 

Ayana Fields, center, landed a NCAA provisional-qualifying mark. (Courtesy of Christine Jacobsen | SF State)

Assistant coach Darrell Smith had nothing but great things to say about Fields’ performance and even considered it the biggest highlight of the weekend.

“I was really happy overall with what she did. That was the performance highlight but in a general sense just having the team being exposed to this level of competition was huge also,” Smith said.

As Fields’ races gave attention to the Broncos, the rest of the team gave an outstanding performance.

It was an open invitational which means that DI and DII athletes were among professional athletes showcasing their talents against the best of the best.

As the runners shined throughout the weekend, the hurdlers and jumpers leaped to success.

Senior Charisma Byrd hit 1.55 meters in the high jump which placed her in 17th. Senior Nia Vance exhibited her talents in long jump and hurdles. Vance marked 5.14 m in the long jump and placed 23rd. She also timed in at 9.16 for the 60 hurdles standing in 19th place.

“The main purpose was to give everybody the experience and just get it started for the history of the program and just have fun the first time for the season,” Smith said.

Junior Zaria Francis finished in the top 10 standing at 9th place in the qualifying round of the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.76. She also took 21st place in the preliminary heat of the 60-meter dash as she crossed the finish line with a time of 7.83.

“I had a goal to put a good number down, a number for the first meet that I was proud of,” Francis said. “I definitely feel like I achieved it just because I was nervous and I had those jitters. Just having to go through running the 60 m again and I haven’t done that competively in a while. Knowing what the provisional and automatic times are for nationals, I just wanted to get a solid mark down that wasn’t too far away from the times that I can properly improve on.”

Senior Araseli Servin led the distance squad in the mile running 5:20.03. 

The 1600-meter relay was the finale of the Broncos’ first indoor track and field meet and the Broncos fought to finish on a good note.

The 4×400 relay was well anticipated as freshman Analexis Glaude, junior Ryanne Napoleon, senior Charisma Byrd, and Fields placed seventh out of 19 teams with a time of 3:53.39.

Smith emphasized that the team is good and this is the beginning of the confidence for the team.

“I just want to see a little more sharpness like you always want to see throughout a season. You kind of start going from practice to a meet  (and) as the meets go, your athletes get a little bit sharper meaning they can run faster, jump higher and shake some of the cobwebs off from the rest and start to perform a little bit better which is the exciting part. It can only go up from here,” Smith said.

The Cal Poly Pomona women’s indoor track and field team travel to Golden, Colorado next weekend, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, at the Mines Winter Classic and Multi.

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