Fields leads the conference in the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles events. | Photo courtesy of CPP Athletics

Ryan Fields captures triplet of CCAA Track Athlete of the Week awards

By Jonathan Shone, April 23, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona’s Ryan Fields seized a prestigious three-peat as CCAA Track Athlete of the Week, most recently spanning the week of Mar. 25-31.

Coming off a season-best of 13.80 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles at the Stanford Invitational, the veteran hurdler boasted the fastest time in the CCAA and the sixth-fastest time in NCAA Division II for the event. He also holds the second-fastest time in the CCAA and NCAA Division II for the 400-meter hurdles with a mark of 51.06 set at the Mangrum Invitational.

Ryan Fields, the Broncos’ team captain, spoke to the significance of receiving the award once again for the 14th time in his career.

“From my freshman year coming to my senior year, being able to get it multiple times through each year I’ve competed, it’s really honoring,” Ryan Fields said. “It really shows how much work I’ve put in where I’ve come from.”

Ryan Fields started running track in middle school under the coaching of former Olympic athlete Stanley Harris. He was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his twin sister, Ayana Fields, who has participated in the sport since she was 6 years old. Ayana Fields is a standout member of CPP’s women’s track and field program, earning CCAA All-American and CCAA Female Athlete of the Year honors for the 2022-2023 season.

Ryan Fields highlighted how coaches and teammates have instilled a spirited rivalry between him and Ayana by comparing their performances, which has strengthened their bond and fueled his drive to succeed.

“It really appealed to my competitiveness, just competing with my sister in a way, but also we’re still supporting each other [and] having fun with one another,” Ryan Fields said.

After struggling in his first seasons, Ryan Fields discovered his potential as he significantly improved his performance during his later years at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Eventually, he qualified for state in the 110 hurdles and 300 sprint, securing victory in the latter event at the 2018 CIF LA City Section Championship as a senior.

Following high school, Ryan Fields joined the Broncos in the summer of 2019 after being recruited by Coach Darrell Smith Jr., the sprints and hurdles coach for CPP. Smith, who has two decades of national and international coaching experience, mentored the recruit, and helped boost his performance immediately. Ryan Fields credits him for teaching him a step-counting method in the 110 hurdles, developing his race plan for the 400 hurdles and revamping his running form.

Ryan Fields smoothly transitioned to collegiate competition in his debut season for CPP, participating in prestigious meets like the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships and NCAA National Championships in 2019. Ryan Fields accumulated USTFCCCA All-West Region, All-CCAA and other distinctions for his performances in the hurdles events. During the 2020 season, Ryan Fields earned CCAA All-Star honors and CCAA Track Athlete of the Week awards while posting a conference-best of 52.82 for the 400 hurdles before the pandemic shutdown.

Ryan Fields solidified his position as one of the region’s elite hurdlers during his third and fourth seasons. Upon returning to competition in 2022, he registered wins in the Stanford Invitational, Steve Scott Invitational and CCAA Track and Field Championships. Ryan Fields set PRs in the 110 hurdles with a 13.92 finish and 400 hurdles with 51.25, shattering both previous school records for those events.

Ryan Fields set new benchmarks for himself in the 2023 campaign, bolstering his school records with times of 13.75 in the 110 hurdles, 50.65 in the 400 hurdles and 47.27 in the 400 sprint. Furthermore, he garnered an impressive 10 wins in 28 events, including a notable triumph at the 63rd Annual Mt. SAC Relays where he set the school record for the 110 hurdles.

Reflecting on the experience, Ryan Fields remembers feeling confident going into the race, setting the tone for the historical performance.

“I could tell in my legs I felt ready, that I was going to drop something fast, because whenever there’s really good competition, something just clicks to where I’m super dialed in,” Ryan Fields said. “I just focus on attacking the first hurdle and I know the rest will come.”

In addition to his athletic success, Ryan Fields has been recognized for his academic excellence. The Los Angeles native collected two CCAA All-Academic awards from 2019 to 2020 and served as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President from 2021 to 2022. In 2021, he was invited to the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Houston, Texas, an experience that helped him transform into a vocal leader on the squad.

“Coach wanted me to step up and be one of the leaders on the team, so the leadership forum definitely helped me with that because I was super quiet coming in,” Ryan Fields said. “I was like my sister – didn’t talk much, kept to myself, but that broke me out of my shell.”

As the 2024 season nears its conclusion, Ryan Fields is directing his efforts toward securing a spot in the NCAA Division II Championships and clinching his first national title, marking it as his paramount ambition in track and field. The entire Bronco team shares similar aspirations, and Ryan Fields has made it his mission to push himself and his teammates to work hard on their quest to accomplish the ultimate goal.

“We’re trying to take more people to nationals, win conference for the third time in a row, and we all need to be collectively set on this goal and have to do what we need to do,” Ryan Fields said. “Each person has to put in their own work for us to achieve that.”

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

Verified by MonsterInsights