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Cal Poly Women's Track & Field Squad to Open Indoor Season in Seattle

Cal Poly Women's Track & Field Squad to Open Indoor Season in Seattle

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's track & field team will begin this indoor season in Seattle, competing at the UW Invitational on Friday and Saturday, before returning to Dempsey Arena for the Husky Classic on Feb. 12-13.

The Mustangs feature a duo of All-Big West Conference honorees in senior triple jumper Kendal Nielsen and junior long jumper Mishe' Scott.

Nielsen is following a spring in which she posted a career-best mark of 40 feet, 10.5 inches (finishing third at the conference championships while ranking No. 4 in school history) en route to a second consecutive appearance at the NCAA West Regional Round.

Last indoor season, Nielsen also had a third-place performance of 39-11.5 at the UW Invitational, tops among all the collegiate (non-club) competitors in attendance. Altogether over her first three years, Nielsen has won various triple jump competitions a combined 12 times — with six victories apiece coming at invites and duals.

Scott also saved her best in 2015 for the postseason: 19 feet, 1.5 inches (also taking third at the conference championships). Her trip to the medal stand last May capped a run in which she improved her mark at the last three meets in succession.

Scott, who at other meets last spring posted jumps of 18-7.75 and 18-10.5, owns a career-best indoor mark of 18-7 (from the 2013 Husky Classic, where she was sixth).

Cal Poly is also led by an experienced tandem of sprinters in senior A'Jah Love and junior Daijah Joe-Smith.

Last outdoor season, Love ran the 100-meter dash in 11.85 seconds, while her career-best 200 of 24.03 (the program's fourth-fastest ever) qualified for regionals in 2014. Her top 60-meter time is 7.81.

Throughout her Mustang career, Love has collected six wins between the 100, 200 and 400, and has also contributed to seven first-place relay squads.

Joe-Smith, meanwhile, ranks No. 4 all-time at Cal Poly in the 100, at 11.72. She was only one spot away from an all-conference plaque last year, taking fourth at the Big West finals (in 11.98).

Joe-Smith's last indoor season included a career-best 60-meter showing of 7.68.

More juniors returning for Cal Poly include Mallory Patino (whose 400 hurdles PR of 1:01.5 as a sophomore ranks No. 10 in school history) and Jessica Rasmussen (scheduled for the pentathlon and looking to build upon a ninth-place Big West Championships heptathlon score of 4,346).

They'll be joined by a sophomore contingent including 400 specialists Chloe Carlson and Anna Carskaden (at 59.22 and 58.62 last outdoor season), triple jumper Juliana McCuaig (37-4.5), 800 runner Nina Rondoni (who redshirted a year ago after running the 400 in 58.54 in 2014) and high jumper Danielle Taylor (5-5.25).

Also traveling to the Pacific Northwest is a talented group of four newcomers.

The freshman class includes 400 runner Nikki Boggs (whose PR was 57.9), triple jumper Kalesi Budei (38-10.25) and sprinter Ralaina LiDrazzah (12.04 in the 100; 24.92 in the 200), while junior Jessica Escalante (12.32 and 25.41 in the sprints; 127-8 in the javelin) has also joined the program as a transfer from Santa Barbara City College.

The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held March 11-12 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Alabama.

March 12 will also mark the start of the outdoor season, as the Mustangs will visit UC Riverside for a conference double-dual meet with UC Santa Barbara beginning at 11:30 a.m.