The Long Beach State track and field team finished up its regular season at the UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational, with strong performances from the distance runners and throwing squad.
Three distance runners qualified for the conference meet, putting the final tally at 31 men and 31 female athletes who will compete at the Big West Championships, which will take place over the next two weekends.
Redshirt senior Mikayla Florez qualified in the women’s 5000m with her personal best time of 17:33.81. Freshman Tiana Prince, punched her ticket in the 3000m steeplechase and senior Trevor Stangle also qualified with his 14:49.06 performance in the men’s 5000m.
The throwing squad had a consistent event with solid marks across the board. Both the men and women throwers have been the backbone of the team and will help carry the 49ers during the conference championships.
“I think any success we have as a team at the championship level is going to rest on the shoulders of our throw squad,” head coach Andy Sythe said. “The men for sure but our women are absolutely doing their fair share as well.”
The men have been strong across the board, particularly in the discus as they now have six athletes who will represent the 49ers at the conference event. This weekend freshman Leotoa Otine, who was already headed to conference for the shot put, also qualified for the discus.
As of late, the breakout performer for the team has been junior Amy Bell, who for the fifth straight week, topped her personal best. She took second and led all Big West athletes at the event with a height of 12’ 11.5”.
This mark put her second in the conference, and fourth of all time at LBSU.
“She’s knocking on the door of taking over the conference lead and challenging for the conference title,” Sythe said.
Bria Palmer, senior, once again placed first in the high jump with a height of 1.75m.
“She’s jumping really well right now and has to feel confident coming into the conference meet as one of the top contenders,” Sythe said.
While the throwers and distance runners had a strong weekend, the team did have some areas that weren’t as competitive.
“The sprinters really pulled back, they basically wanted to rest this weekend,” Sythe said.
As a result, the sprint events had some inconsistent results.
The men 4x100m relay team was a bright spot, placing third with a time of 40.44.01 seconds behind conference rivals Fullerton.
But on the women’s side, they weren’t able to come away with the same success, running their slowest time of the season at 47.03.
“We ran our slowest time of the year because our first and second exchanges weren’t good at all,” Sythe said. “It was a little tough, but we have to execute.”
The 4x400m relays for both the men and women were not important, as the members who ran in those teams this weekend are distance runners and not the usual teams.
“All in all we are such a consistent team and we’re so deep in events, that sometimes you want spectacular,” Sythe said. “But consistency is way more important and the consistency is showing.”