The Long Beach State track and field team put together a solid showing at the USC Trojan Invitational and Baldy Castillo Invitational in Arizona this weekend, creating a gauge for the team to measure itself.
The 49ers come home with four event wins, three of which came from field events, but head coach Andy Sythe said he believes the performance his team put together will give them plenty to work on.
“I would say this is one of those trips you learn the most from,” Sythe said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we did everything right, but that we identified some things that we need to do better. It’s clear to us what those things are, so that’s what we will be working on in our preparation.”
Three of the total four event wins for the 49ers came in Arizona. Senior jumper Kemonie Briggs, dominated the long jump winning with a distance of 7.70m. The lone track win came as junior hurdler Skylar Harbin ran 1:00.17 in the 400m hurdles, and redshirt senior Vincent Calhoun came in first in the high jump for his second straight event, after jumping 7-02.25.
Junior thrower Charlie Vernoy won the men’s discuss event at USC Friday after throwing 52.63m.
Harbin’s performance in the 400m hurdles was her personal best, and Calhoun’s performance was the third-highest in his career.
Sythe said he was proud of his top performers, but also mentioned a number of other athletes that put together promising performances, specifically the relay teams.
“Our men’s 4x100m relay team had an atrocious first hand off, and yet, they ran about as close to as fast as we have run in recent years,” Sythe said. “I was pleased that even with the mistakes that we were able to put together a pretty decent relay team.”
This was also true for the women, who had a shaky hand off but are still, according to Sythe, very fast and ahead of where the team was last year.
Along with the relay teams, the 49ers had strong showing from many individual athletes as well.
Senior Sprinter Courtne’ Davis stood out as she finished second in the 100m dash with a time of 11.47, and third in the 200m dash at 23.49. Davis was a member of the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams, which took home second and fourth respectively.
“Courtne’ Davis ran strong, she is still showing that she is a premiere athlete in our conference in the short sprints,” Sythe said.
Sophomore sprinter Faris Babineaux had a very productive day, topping his personal best in both the 200m dash at 21.65, and 400m dash at 48.19.
Sythe also mentioned Chaio Winters, who ran 22.16 in the 200m dash and ran the second leg in the men’s 4x400m relay. Winters impressed by running a 48.69 in the men’s 400m dash, good for fourth in an event that is not his strength.
Coach Sythe said he was pleased with the showing his team had, saying the team showed a lot of grit and competitiveness. Despite the success, the team still looks to prepare in March for the high powered events that will be coming in April.
The 49ers will be competing next weekend at the UCR Decathlon and Heptathlon March 21 and 22.