The throwers and pole vaulter for the Long Beach State track and field team are returning home from competing in the UC San Diego Triton Invitational, topping multiple personal bests and further developing its depth.
The standout performance of the weekend was by junior Charlie Vernoy, as he placed first in the open discus event with distance of 186’ 1”, beating his personal best by almost 10 feet and claiming the top mark in the Big West Conference.
Senior De’Ondra Young also had a very strong performance continuing her consistency this year in the hammer throw. Young competed in the invitational portion of the women’s hammer throw, placing seventh with a season best distance of 193’ 1”. While her hammer throw has kept her top-two in the conference this year, head coach Andy Sythe believes she has much more room for improvement.
“She’s ready to throw much further,” Sythe said. “She’s throwing really far, but a lot of her long throws are fouls, so once she gets that balance and finish ironed out your going to see the big throws she’s not getting measured going for some really good distances.”
The depth for the throwers really shined as they placed five athletes in the top 20 of the men’s invitational hammer throw, and four in the top 20 of the men’s open discus throw.
Sythe singled sophomore Anthony Sommers who achieved a new personal best in the hammer throw with a mark of 180’ 11”, the first time he hit the 180 foot mark as an athlete who has been coming on as the season has progressed.
Freshman Sebastian Coleman, placed 20th in the hammer throw with a distance of 166’ 7”, and 13th in the discus with a mark of 169’ 7”.
“He’s really adapted well,” Sythe said. “He’s showing a lot more skill, more strength and he’s showing his fitness, and it’s coming out in his throws. He’s consistently throwing further than some would expect him to.”
For the women, freshman Malia Talavou performed well in the shot put, placing ninth in the women’s open shot put with hitting a distance of 40’ 11.75”. After not hitting 40 feet all season, Talavou has now hit and exceeded the mark two weeks in a row.
On the pole vault side, junior Amy Bell improved on her personal best for the second straight week, as she finished first in the women’s open pole vault hitting the mark of 12’ 1.5”. That mark also ties her for 10th all-time in LBSU history. For the men, junior Christian Mueller has recovered well from his previous injuries, placing seventh in the men’s open pole vault with a height of 15’ 3”.
With the Triton invitational behind them, the 49ers now focus all efforts on the team’s home event, the Beach Invitational, where they will face much of the same talent they competed against this weekend and more. The home event will take place Thursday through Saturday.
“Going into this weekend this won’t be new to the team,” Sythe said. “They’ll have experienced it, they know they have to get in there and compete, but at the same time shine because we’re at home, and when you have that advantage you want to capitalize on it.”