After the sudden cancellation of the 2020 track & field season, the California Collegiate Athletics Association announced, for the first time in conference history, its selections for the 2020 CCAA Women’s Track & Field All-Star Team. CPP student-athletes Charisma Byrd, Ayana Fields, Zaria Francis, and Ana Tovi were among the 32 athletes selected to this year’s all-star team.
Ayana Fields, a third-year kinesiology student, recorded the best time in the CCAA last season in the 200-meter dash. Not only was the time a conference best, but it also is ranked first in NCAA Division II Outdoor Qualifying.
Charisma Byrd, a fifth-year chemistry student, has competed in both track and field events.
Byrd’s times rank her within the top-15 in the CCAA in six categories, including second-most points in the Heptathlon category.
Ana Tovi, a third-year hospitality management student, had a successful season, ranking first in the CCAA in both shot put and discus events. In addition to ranking first, Tovi ranked third in the NCAA Division II Outdoor Qualifying.
Zaria Francis, a fifth-year kinesiology student, recorded the second-best time in the CCAA last season in the 100-meter dash. Francis is also a part of the Broncos 4×100 meter relay squad ranked first in the CCAA.
The Poly Post interviewed these student-athletes about their all-star selections.
How does it feel to be selected to the CCAA All-Star team?
“It feels great to be selected to the CCAA All-Star Team. The title definitely represents the hard work I, and my fellow teammates, put in.” – Ayana Fields, third-year kinesiology student
“Being selected for the CCAA All-Star Team is one of the biggest highlights of my athletic career at Cal Poly. To me, it was a confirmation that all my hard work paid off. Naturally, we do our sport for the love of the game, yet something about this selection felt extremely validating.” – Charisma Byrd, fifth-year chemistry student
“It actually feels really good to have been selected and chosen for the CCAA All-Star team just because it tells me that I did better in my season than I actually thought I did.” – Zaria Francis, fifth-year kinesiology student
“I was really surprised to hear about it. Honestly, I didn’t really know what is was until my teammates and coaches told me.” – Ana Tovi, third-year hospitality student
Were you caught by surprise with the all-star selection?
“I was really surprised by it knowing that there were athletes out there that deserved it more than I did. The reason I say this is because I don’t think I gave my best effort in trying to be selected.” – Ana Tovi
“I was a little surprised because I didn’t know there was a selection for CCAA All Star Team. But when I found out I was chosen, I was excited.” – Ayana Fields
“I was extremely surprised when I received a notification of my selection because it was the first time CCAA has ever released an award of this sort; it was not expected by anyone.” – Charisma Byrd
“I was actually pleasantly surprised by the people picked. I thought the people picked were the right people.” – Zaria Francis
What do you want to accomplish next in the sport?
“This year is my last year of competition so if we are able to compete I would definitely want to run 11.5 (seconds) and under so I can be on the [Cal Poly Pomona] wall of fame in the gym for more than just the 4×100.” – Zaria Francis
“I want to have a better understanding of what I have learned already, so that I will be able to apply it to my technique without having second thoughts.” – Ana Tovi
“Next season, the goal is to hit an automatic mark and to place on the All-American First Team. It will take a lot of training and preparation, but it is achievable.” – Ayana Fields
“I hope to acquire marks similar, or higher, than last year, proving hard work by yourself is still valuable even if you’re without a team.” – Charisma Byrd
How does preparing for this upcoming season feel compared to other seasons?
“Preparing for this season is a challenge compared to the past season. Usually we’re training as a team and meeting face to face, but since we’re at home, it has become difficult to train by yourself. Even though I work out with my brother, there are days when I don’t feel as motivated compared to working out with a huge team.” – Ayana Fields
“This semester has been really tough knowing that it is better to train as a team than individually without guidance. For me, I think that hits really hard since I am not at a stage where I am able to really catch the things I may be doing wrong, and this could be from the smallest things.” – Ana Tovi
“One of the main reasons I do my sport is the people. Not working out with my best friends sounds silly but it’s harder than I thought. Preparing for this upcoming season is vastly different than any season we’ve encountered before, it’s lonely.” – Charisma Byrd
“I really don’t like this fall season because of the way things are. I don’t like having to train without my teammates, I really don’t like not being able to have the encouragement of my coaches in my ear during a touch practice. And I don’t like that the new freshman and transfer students cannot get to know their team in the hardest times of the fall.” – Zaria Francis
Byrd is set to graduate in the spring 2021 and has elected to use her extra year of eligibility to compete in the upcoming season. Francis is returning for her fifth year.
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