For the second time in his career, senior decathlete Herman Day broke the UC Riverside decathlon meet record, with a score of 7410 on his way to a first-place finish.
The score is not only his personal best, but is third in Long Beach State history and ranks him first in the nation for the decathlon.
“That marks three events that we’re leading the nation in,” head coach Andy Sythe said. “We are leading in the high jump with Vincent Calhoun, Kemonie Briggs in the long jump, and now Herman [Day] has added himself to that list, and that’s pretty special, that doesn’t happen.”
As a whole, Long Beach State dominated the UC Riverside decathlon, claiming four of the top five spots.
Senior John Broadhead finished second at 6660. He was followed by junior Derreck Affor in third, with a score of 6468, close to a 500 point increase from his last score. Rounding out the top-five is junior Devon Alvarado who finished at 6195.
Between the four of them, they won eight of the 10 total events, claiming first in all except the 400m and 100m dashes.
The women didn’t enjoy the same amount of success on the leaderboards, but put together quality team and individual performances.
Sydney Barnes, junior heptathlete, placed sixth with a score of 4261 in her first ever heptathlon. Junior Lexi Nardoni, who also competed in her first heptathlon, finished eleventh at 3664. Right behind her was Kaylee Shoemaker, junior, with a score of 3659.
Barnes was able to put together a collection of lifetime best marks throughout the heptathlon. Her shot put (9.52m), long jump (5.58m), high jump (1.50m) and javelin throw (29.48m) were all her career bests.
Shoemaker also had a strong performance in the javelin event placing second with a distance of 32.59m. That mark should allow her to be a contributor for the team in the javelin throw at the conference events.
“There’s that up and down you get when your learning to manage your heptathlon,” Sythe said. “There were some mistakes made but we’re going to learn from them, and I was very proud that day two they were better at that management.”
When competing in the decathlon or heptathlon, Sythe stressed the importance of being a team and helping each other through the event.
“The kind of group we have, they really feed off each other and really create energy, they worked together through everything to inspire each other to get their best performance,” Sythe said.
Sythe pointed out that Affor’s performance raises his expectations and shows his potential to possibly be a 7000 point decathlete.
“I know for sure that performances like this in the middle of March raise each athletes expectations for the type of performance they can create in May,” Sythe said.
The team will not compete in another heptathlon or decathlon until the conference meets or possibly the NCAA Championship.
Until then, Sythe feels confident the group will still train together and carry a winning tradition and environment throughout the season.
“They create the synergy, they carry that with them everywhere. They have these little things they do that bring that excitement and recognition to each other throughout every event. It’s a culture and these guys do it as good as anybody,” Sythe said.
The Long Beach track and field team will compete next Friday at the Bob Larsen Distance Carnival and Saturday at the Jim Bush Legends Invitational both held at UCLA.