Highlighted by personal bests and world class performances, the 25th annual Long Beach State Beach Invitational hosted over 3,000 athletes from around the world in one of the biggest track events of the year.
While the sheer number of athletes competing was massive, the 49ers were able to make their presence felt with multiple athletes placing well and putting up solid marks.
“Most events we had a minimum 90-100 participants,” head coach Andy Sythe said. “So they were very competitive fields but also very large fields. To even make the top-10 in this meet is pretty darn good.”
Senior distance runner Trevor Stangler began the action on the field Friday, placing first in the men’s 10,000 meter run with a new personal best of 32:17.80.
He would be one of many to claim first place finishes for the team as senior Bria Palmer won the women’s high jump event with a height of 5’ 10.75”.
Senior Courtne’ Davis had a strong weekend in the 100m and 200m dashes, placing second and fourth respectively.
On the throws side, junior Charlie Vernoy displayed his consistency in the men’s discus throw, competing Thursday and Friday, claiming marks of over 179 feet both days.
Senior Nicholas Hudson also had an impressive weekend, setting a new personal best in the men’s hammer throw Thursday, with a distance of 209’ 3”, only to come back Saturday to break it again with a new mark of 212’ 10.”
One of the more important performances for the 49ers of the weekend came from senior Alyssa Allen.She placed 15th in the women’s 800m dash with a time of 2:16.82. Her big performance of the weekend came in the women’s 1500m run, where she placed 18th while shattering her previous personal best and finishing with a time of 4:38.83.
”The significance of the breakthrough for her was big, and that’s what we’re looking for in this meet is to have those breakthroughs,” Sythe said. “As far as I’m concerned, Alyssa is the star that came out of this event for us.”
Other standout performers for the 49ers included senior Kemonie Briggs, who placed first in the 200m dash Thursday, with a time of 21.31 and followed that placing second in the men’s long jump with a mark of 25’ 9,” a season best.
Over the weekend, the athletes performing broke seven total meet records and three stadium records.
Ryan Crouser, 2016 olympic gold medalist, dominated the shot put with a distance of 74’ 7.25,” a new stadium record. The shot put was a contested event as the top six marks were all meet records.
In the triple jump, Omar Craddock, an athlete from Chula Vista Elite, edged out 2016 triple jump gold medalist Christian Taylor by almost two feet in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 58’ 0.25”.
Also beating a stadium record was University of Washington’s Olivia Gruver, the first woman to pole vault 15 feet at Long Beach State.
“Not a lot of people understand how great a track meet the Beach Invitational is,” Sythe said. “The general public doesn’t realize that what is happening at our event is truly at another level. We saw world class performances at this event.”
In addition to hosting high caliber athletes from across the world, the school was also host to 30 LBSU seniors who performed for their last time at the Jack Rose Field.
The 12 total male seniors were part of the 2016 Big West Conference champions, holding 23 marks on the all-time list, three school records and two NCAA All-Americans.
The 18 females are part of the reigning Big West Conference championship team, holding 43 marks on the LBSU all-time list, five school records and include four NCAA All-Americans.
As a whole, the Beach Invitational entertained 237 different programs over two days and over 3000 athletes including the Pacific Intercollegiate event held Thursday.
“We take a lot of pride in managing an event with a lot of numbers,” Sythe said. “[We] have to give credit to our staff and to our student athletes and volunteers who all chipped in.When it succeeds we celebrate it and fortunately for 25 years we’ve been celebrating with the growth and success of this event.”