by Landus Rigsby
Five records were broken and national qualifiers merged at the SCIAC championships courtesy of the University of La Verne women’s track team last Saturday at Pomona-Pitzer College.
“I feel great about our performance in the championships. So far, we’ve reached one of our goals,” said ULV track coach Pat Widolff.
The La Verne women’s team finished first in the championships, maintaining control and dominating the competition with a 176 point total. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps as the next closest opponent in the women’s championship with 138 points.
Junior Katrina Hall was named MVP for women’s competition, the first time ever a Leopard was named MVP in the conference championships. Hall grabbed first in the 100 meter hurdles at 15.67, posted second in long jump and triple jump events and finished third in the high jump. She also was one of the runners on the women’s 4×100 relay team; the other athletes being senior Stacey Williams, freshman Jemeace Willis and junior Patrina Hall. The relay team qualified for the nationals and is third in the nation in Division III, finishing first at 48.70.
“Claremont and Occidental did all they could to stop us from a championship title, but we would not go down without a fight,” said Hall when asked about the competition. “It felt good just to win. We knew what we had to do.”
The 4×400 relay team, consisting of Willis, Patrina Hall, Castillo and senior Vikki Wallace, set a SCIAC meet record with a 3:56.73 time which is also No.3 in the nation in Division III.
Other great accomplishments on the day for the women included senior Jacqui Zwissler, who was first in the javelin and triple jump events respectively for an automatic qualification for the nationals. Zwissler also was third in the long jump.
Williams clinched the win in the high jump with a leap of 5’3″ and Katrina Hall placed third with 5’2 1/2″.
Going against doctor’s orders and suffering from asthma, sophomore Eboni White made a courageous showing at the meet. White was second in discus competition, throwing 138’4″, a provisional mark for nationals and sixth in shotput.
Freshman Rhiannon Jensen also did well in the shotput, placing second with a 138’4″ toss, posted fifth in shotput and came roaring back to place third in the javelin after entering the finals in eighth place.
Senior Socorro Gonzalez won her fourth individual conference championship, tying the ULV record, by ranking first in shotput with a 43’3”3/4 toss. Gonzalez was second in the javelin event with a 130”4′ toss, ranking fifth in the nation.
Freshman Maria Garcia posted a school record in the 400 meter hurdles by coming in second place at 67.46. Castillo was all-conference in the 400 meters, grabbing third at 58.70, and Patrina Hall nabbed second in the 100 meters with a time of 12.84.
A milestone was accomplished for the men’s team as the Leopards took third place overall in the SCIAC championship with 110 points, its best ever. CMS and Pomona-Pitzer were the teams ahead of La Verne.
Senior Anthony Rice flew through the 100 meters in 10.84, provisionally qualifying him for national competition. Rice was also a big part of the men’s 4×100 relay team that consisted of senior Jason Neal, junior J. Anthony Rudolph, and senior Liron Wilson. The team won the relay event not only qualified for nationals, but making itself the nation’s leader in Division III.
Wilson, who also set a school record in the 200 meters (21.55), qualified for nationals, ranking second.
“We knew what we had to do and we went out there and took care of business,” said Wilson.
Another qualifier for the Leopards was Michael P. Bailey, who was second in the javelin throw with a 187’11” recording.
Bailey said in regards to the team’s finish, “It was disappointing. We should have at least held on to second place.”
In the men’s long jump, sophomore Ordell Williams bested all and won the conference championship for the respected event at 22’11 3/4″.
“This is a talented, well coached and confident team,” said Widolff.
ULV looks to win more at the Cal-Nevada State Meet tomorrow and Sunday at Cal State Northridge.