By Kevin Corella, Jan. 31, 2023
Before 2022, the last time Cal Poly Pomona men’s track and field won a California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship was in 1998. Despite such a long gap between championship wins, the Broncos expect to carry that distinction into the new year’s campaign.
The team’s first championship win in 24 years was in part thanks to head coach Chris Bradford, who claimed the 2022 CCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year Award. Bradford is under special pressure to push the team to maintain the title.
“The goal is to win for everybody,” said Bradford. “We are the defending champions and we are going to be viewed as the goal and the target that everyone wants to knock off. At the end of the day, we need to be the pressure rather than feel the pressure.”
This season the Broncos look strong in numbers, only losing three athletes to graduation. Adding 17 new recruits to their already stacked roster, the many returning Broncos will look to repeat as champions.
With the addition of new throwing coach Frederica Bush and new assistant coach Ian Jennings this season, the Broncos hope for another successful year.
“We absolutely expect to be successful; we’ve got great coaches here, and we’ve worked really hard to get to a position where we have that opportunity last year,” said Bradford.
One of the athletes that Bradford raved about was senior Kaelin Moore, who is coming into his last season hungry for another championship.
“We had our little celebration just to reminisce on our championship, but then we went right back to work,” said Moore. “We want Chico (State) to fear us, make them know who we really are.”
Due to the pandemic, many of the athletes lost motivation to train and stay in competition shape for their 2021 season. For Moore, those physical and mental struggles weighed heavily on him last year.
“Coming off the COVID year, not doing something for two years and then having to work super hard to put your body used through things it hasn’t been used to for a while is tough,” said Moore. “It’s tough and made me want to quit a few times, but with the help of my teammates Ryan Fields and Derek Porter — they made dealing with the season a lot easier.”
Moore wasn’t the only athlete that was affected by the pandemic cancellation. Senior Alejandro Mariscal saw a lot of his teammates have fears over the uncertain time and depart from the team.
“It’s just crazy to think about how weird COVID was for everybody,” said Mariscal. “How scary and uncertain it was. There was a lot of people I know personally that just got up and left. I appreciate my time with them and am grateful that there’s people that wanted to continue, and they did anything they could to have another chance to compete.”
Luckily, that lost season seemed to only further unite the Broncos.
“Not seeing everyone for two years made us really want to get together and do what we can on the track to win,” said Moore.
Mariscal is entering his last season with a team mentality to build good habits and succeed in the future.
“I’m trying to leave an impression and a mark on the team culture before I leave, and I’m hoping that by showing the new people, the team now, that we need to be aggressive,” said Mariscal. “We need to do everything we can to put ourselves in successful positions so we can have a successful season.”
The Broncos outdoor season begins on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Kamaka Invitational in Walnut, California.
The CPP Track and Field schedule and scores update on the BroncoAthletics website and live streamed games are available on the CCAA network.
Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics
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