Multiple All-Region Honors awarded to CPP women’s track and field team

By William Jack, April 25, 2023

Several women from Cal Poly Pomona expressed great appreciation toward their teammates and coaches after being awarded a selection to the 2023 indoor track and field Division II National Collegiate Athletic Association All-Region Team.

Ayana Fields earned All-Region honors in the 60 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters dash. Kelsey Ehinlaiye earned All-Region honors for her performance in the long jump. The Broncos 4x400m team consisting of Jaelyn Thomas, Yuna Queniat, Arissa Hatcher and Fields was also named All-Region. 

When asked about the honor, Thomas used just a few words to describe the accomplishment.

“I feel satisfied because it was one of my goals I had wrote down at the beginning of the year,” said Thomas. “And it was something that I really wanted to achieve and once I did that, I just knew from then that anything is possible.”

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

Keiana Turner broke the school record in the weighted throw with a 16.89-meter toss, earning her All-Region Honors. Jade De Souza earned All-Region honors in the triple jump. 

Turner surprised herself after breaking the school record for the weighted throw because it was an event she never saw herself doing.

“So, I got introduced to it last year, and I was not expecting to be that good because that ball is heavy once you start turning it around,” said Tuner. “But I managed to handle the weight.”

Although grateful for the honor, De Souza has been dealing with a nagging foot injury that has sidelined her for the time being, so she could not compete at nationals. 

“Well right now, since I am injured, it’s kind of like steady stream,” said De Souza. “But I’m learning a lot, and practice is really different from what I am used to, so I am still getting adapted to it.”

Going through the adversity of injury, De Souza showed great appreciation for her teammates. In her home country of France, De Souza was accustomed to a more individual aspect of the sport.

“I like having teammates a lot especially compared to France, where I used to practice and go to meets basically alone with my dad, which was my coach,” said De Souza. “So it’s really really different here, and I like it a lot because you have a lot of support at practice.” 

As one of the four teammates on the relay team, Thomas also expressed the importance of what her team provides for her. 

“I feel really honored with this team,” said Thomas. “I live with two of them right now, and you know we’ve been talking about it. And we’ve been really excited, and just seeing how this would play out because this was the first relay the coach took to nationals, so it was kind of an honor.” 

Turner expressed how grateful she was for everyone that helped her get where she is now after breaking the school record for the weighted throw.

“I want to say I am thankful for everybody, not just at this school but also everyone who helped me throughout the way in my academic and athletic career,” said Turner. “But I am also doing this for my mom because she did a lot for me and she didn’t have to, but she wanted to see me grow and accomplish things in life.” 

Turner started competing in track and field in high school, and her first passion was basketball. 

“Well, I started track in my freshmen year of high school,” said Turner. “A friend introduced it to me. I was playing basketball in high school too, but track kind of took me somewhere.”

De Souza also had an interesting start to her athletic career; she picked up the sport from a babysitter.

“Well, I started track when I was seven years old because the babysitter I had her daughter was doing track, and I thought that was cool,” said De Souza. “So, I just started like this, and then I did mostly field events.”

In France the sport had a dramatically different set of rules according to De Souza.

“In France when you’re young and you do track, you have to do a race, a throw and a jump and that gives you points,” said De Souza. “Let’s say, so, your total performance is based on all three events. When I was old enough to do specific events I liked triple jump, so I stayed with it.” 

Through all the difficulties, the track and field team remains determined to improve and get better.

“If I want something, I’m going to get it,” said Turner. “Like, I’m working on to try and like hold the record for hammer. That’s my other favorite event, but you know all that is mental, and I feel like I can do it. I just got to, you know, do it.”

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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