Long Beach State’s track teams had no problem rising to the occasion on Friday for Senior Day at the Jack Rose Track, taking first place in the Big West Challenge on the men’s side for the tenth year in a row.
The men’s team earned an overall score of 197 and the women’s team finished in second place with a score of 182.5. The challenge was between three other Big West schools: UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton.
After the meet, 17 seniors in total were honored in front of friends and family.
“Being able to go here has been a blessing, it’s been super fun,” senior thrower James Hubbard said.
For the men’s team, they took first in five total events on the day.
Notable performances came from sophomore Kemonie Briggs in the 400m dash with a personal best time of 46.91 as well as a personal record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.28. Also, junior Vincent Calhoun won the high jump with a mark of 2.16m, placing him fifth all-time in the Long Beach State record books. In the pole vault, seniors Paul Thenard and Xander Cooper took first place with a height of 5.10 m. Lastly, senior James Hubbard won the hammer throw with a new personal record of 66.23 m, placing him fourth all-time in the record books.
Head coach Andy Sythe made it a point to recognize the men’s team after their first place finish.
“The fact that we came away with the men’s title today, the tenth in a row, is just a confirmation of what we’ve seen from our men’s team for years and years and they just expect to win and they find a way,” Sythe said. “These guys should be very proud of this win because the team’s that we went against today are good. And they’ll come back at us in a month and a half.”
On the women’s side, they came away with six event victories on the day.
Notable field performances came from junior De’Ondra Young in the hammer throw with a school record of 61.41m, captain Riley Cooks in the long jump with a personal best 6.05m jump and senior Shelby Crider in the javelin with a personal best of 45.19m.
“The team is excellent, we had a fantastic day today,” Crider said.
On the track, junior Ashleigh Chambers won the 200m dash with a personal best time of 23.82 and the 4x100m relay team took first place with a time of 45.13.
“With the group of women we have, we’re so set to go and today was a great example of what we can do,” Crider said. “Of course we came in second and there’s a few things that didn’t quite go right but if we keep improving, no question we’re gonna win [conference].”
Sythe was also very pleased with his team’s results Friday.
“I felt that the performance from our team today was outstanding. Across the board we had people elevate their game and come with their very best and that shows in the results,” he said.
Sythe also mentioned his thoughts on the team’s chances when they compete in the Big West Conference Championships in May.
“I saw fantastic performances that show that we’re ready to win a title. We’re gonna have to go through some people to get there but with the effort and focus that I saw today, we’re gonna be right there,” Sythe said. “This is our women’s year. Our men’s they just keep doing it and doing it. For our women, this is our year to do this.”
When asked about his senior class, Sythe said, “The seniors have left their mark but they are not finished. They want their mark to be bringing home a team title this year.”
Long Beach State will be back next week to host the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate on Thursday followed by the Beach Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Jack Rose Track.