Beekman, Cotsirilos, Daschian, Thiara Earn All-Conference Honors with 2nd Place Performances
Mustangs Combine for 4 Lifetime-Bests, 3 Collegiate PRs plus 5 Season-Bests Saturday While Finishing 5th on Women's Side, 6th on Men's Side
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Abi Iriafen and Swarnjit Boyal won conference titles at the Big West Track & Field Championships on Saturday, leading Cal Poly on Day 2 of the 2018 finals at CSUN.
Iriafen won the women's triple jump at Matador Stadium, her first championship and the program's second in the event in three years. A sophomore who also competed in the long jump Friday, Iriafen announced herself as the leader on her first attempt, landing at 41 feet, 7.75 inches.
She exactly matched her winning mark on her fourth attempt — both times beyond CSUN's Sydney Berry (41' 3.25") for the crown. Kalesi Budei also added a 15th-place mark of 37' 1".
Iriafen, whose PR of 41' 8.5" from the regular-season finale at UC Santa Barbara ranked 29th regionally as of Saturday, is in strong position to advance in the postseason to the NCAA West Prelim Round at Sacramento State from May 24-26. The western field, comprised of Top 48 student-athletes per event west of the Mississippi, will be announced Thursday.
At the end of the meet televised by FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Boyal won his second conference championship in under 24 hours, following his 10,000-meter title from Friday with a 5,000m win at 14:44.24.
Cal Poly finished in fifth place on the women's side with 95 points, while the Mustangs were sixth on the men's side via 100 points. Cal State Fullerton won its second straight men's championship, scoring 154 points, while Long Beach State dethroned CSUN for the women's title thanks to 122 points.
In a thrilling finish, Boyal, a senior, edged a pair of UCSB rivals, Daniel Mountcastle (14:44.77) & Patrick Bourke (14:44.98).
Close behind was another member of the all-conference team from Friday night, Mikey Giguere, who crossed fourth in 14:46.67. Sean McDermott, the steeplechase champion a day earlier, also scored in the event, finishing eighth at 14:50.89. A trio of Mustang freshmen followed in 10th (Benjamin Holland at 14:53.23, a season-best), 12th (Jake Ritter; 14:55.12) and 13th (Hunter Clark via a season-best 14:56.51), while Evan Jameson — the 10,000m runner-up a night earlier — added a 15th-place time of 15:05.78.
Cal Poly nearly swept the 5,000 titles, as junior Miranda Daschian came in second place with a performance of 16:48.88 — only 1.45 seconds behind UCSB's Jenna Hinkle. It was a new career-best for Daschian, who also made the 10,000m all-conference squad.
Abbey Fisk also scored in the 5,000 meters, earning fifth place in 17:24.02, followed in sixth by Maddie McDonald (17:24.46), 10th by Hannah Hull (17:35.64, a PR for the distance) and 15th by Kelsey Takeuchi (17:44.16, another season-best).
Peter Cotsirilos almost won the 1,500-meter crown, taking second place in 3:56.37, just 1.17 seconds back. Alex Merder also competed in the final, finishing 12th at 4:00.96. Hull also posted a sixth-place women's 1,500m in 4:35.10, while Melodie Leroudier came in 11th at 4:41.25.
Cotsirilos also added a 17th-place 5,000 time of 15:07.17, and Tim Chrisman was 19th at 15:22.55, while Leroudier ran the 5,000 in 18:35.70 (26th) and Delaney Fitzsimmons in 18:40.64 (27th).
Bikram Thiara added another second-place performance, clocking a season-best time of 52.14 in the men's 400m hurdles — just 0.38 seconds shy of the championship while making the all-conference team. In improving his PR by 0.13, Thiara, a true freshman, moved to No. 10 in school history for the event.
Another career-best performance was posted by senior Brad Beekman, who claimed second place in the pole vault by clearing 17' 0". Beekman, who earned all-conference accolades for the second year in a row, crushed his PR by 6.25". Enzo Sison was 11th at his first championship meet, clearing 15' 0.25".
A duo of Cal Poly freshmen combined to score 8 points in the women's 800 meters, where Mikaela Romanini ran a season-best 2:11.23 for fourth place and Michelle Chandler took sixth in 2:13.21.
Connor Crowe also established a new lifetime-best performance while finishing fifth in the men's 800, at 1:51.97.
Dane Clemensen tallied 3 points in the javelin, earning sixth with a throw of 179' 7". Also in the javelin, Ryan Gonter added a 15th-place mark of 159' 4", and Jacob Rickman, after surpassing the 7,000-point milestone in the decathlon a week ago, came in 16th at 147' 0".
Ciara Levy scored 2 points in the women's 100m hurdles, taking seventh place in 14.68. Levy moved to No. 7 all-time at Cal Poly with a time of 13.94 in the prelims. A half-hour earlier, Levy also helped the Mustangs finish seventh in the 4x100m relay, teaming up with Daijah Joe-Smith, Molly Ross & Ann Caroline Kaseberg to record a time of 47.25.
Kaseberg would return less than an hour later to add an eighth-place 400 final of 56.64.
Cal Poly also earned a season-best of 41.76 in the men's 4x1 relay, good for seventh, and Liam Martinez took eighth in the 400, at 49.30 in his third straight final.
Redshirt freshman Will Smith was just one spot back of scoring in the discus, coming in ninth place with a throw of 157' 11".
Freshman John Shaw also made his debut at the championships, taking 11th in the triple jump, establishing the top mark of his collegiate career at 46' 1.25".
Julie Zweng led Cal Poly in the women's high jump, finishing in 12th place with a clearance of 5' 3.25". She was followed by Danielle Taylor (13th with a height of 5' 1.25"), Larissa Kurtz (16th, also 5' 1.25") & Julianna Ruotolo (16th; 5' 1.25").
To close out the meet, Cal Poly took eighth in both 4x400m relays, at 3:52.92 in the women's event and 3:27.20 for the men's finale.
Following the announcement of each of the NCAA's two regional fields (to be made on May 17 at NCAA.com), Top 12 qualifiers per event will join the East (this year hosted by South Florida in Tampa) in advancing to the national championships, at Oregon on ESPN from June 6-9.