The Long Beach State track and field athletes will have their last opportunity to qualify for the Big West Championships this weekend at the UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational.
Going into the weekend, the 49ers have qualified 30 men and 29 women for the conference event.
Each program is limited to compete 32 men and women athletes each. If the team were to qualify more than that, they would have to make the decision about who to bring to compete.
“If we do qualify more than 32, which I would expect that we would, then we have to make some tough decisions on readiness and preparation,” head coach Andy Sythe said
To qualify for the conference, players must meet the qualifying mark issued by the conference for each event.
This event has appeared on the team’s schedule every year and works as a tune-up for the Big West championships.
“It’s just the right place to go to prepare our team for the conference championship,” Sythe said. “The level of competition is solid [and] we’re trying to tune-up and get everything sharp.”
One area the team will be focusing on is the relay teams. So far this season, both the men and women’s relay teams have had different lineups for each event.
“We’re just trying to find that right fit and that right person,” Sythe said. “And frankly we’ve found those people, but injuries and things have kind of changed things. The nice part is we’ve run pretty consistent with everybody.”
Despite the order and athletes changing from each event,the men hold second place in the conference in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, while the women are first in 4x100m and second in the 4x400m.
In the 4x100m the women lead the conference with a time of 44.94, making it the only sub 45 second mark in the conference.
“Our women’s team leads the conference by .71 seconds,” Sythe said. “That’s nearly a second, so we definitely have the strongest team.”
The men are close second in the 4x100m relay with a time of 40.35, just .02 seconds out of first place.
The men and women hold second in the 4x400m with times of 3:11.72 and 3:45.47, respectively.
“It’s not always the fastest person that’s the best for the relay,” Sythe said. “The ability to move that baton around that track quickly and have the handoffs be accurate are the things I know the coaches are trying to find to get the right balance.”
Some athletes are working to claim regional marks in order to qualify for the NCAA regionals, while others will just be fine tuning their events.
“It’s a little different for each person individually…where they stand and what they are trying to do,” Sythe said. “The approach of the meet is to try and meet the specific needs of each individual.”
The UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational takes place Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 at Anteater Stadium.