Bennett, Hutchins, Bilo Also Earn All-Conference Accolades
Mustangs Finish 3rd on Men's Side, 6th on Women's Side; Combine for 10 PRs and 5 More Season-Bests on Day 2
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Kendal Nielsen, Katie Izzo and Nick Woolf won three more individual conference titles for Cal Poly on Saturday at the Big West Track & Field Championships at Long Beach State. Altogether, the Mustangs concluded the meet televised by FOX Sports West combining for 40 season-best results (including 28 PRs) over the two days at Jack Rose Stadium.
Izzo, Woolf and Nielsen placed Cal Poly's total count of Big West event championships at 122 since joining the conference in 1997.
Woolf led the way to a third-place men's team finish with 114 points, while Nielsen and Izzo helped the women's squad finish sixth with a score of 76.5. The hosting 49ers won their fourth straight men's team championship (with 176 points), while UC Davis (135.5) dethroned CSUN on the women's side.
Nielsen won the women's triple jump with a career-best mark of 42 feet, 6.25 inches on her first attempt.
After announcing the lead right away, the closest anyone else approached it the rest of the way was nearly a foot-and-a-half back, as UC Santa Barbara's Alivia Schlueter landed at 41' 0.5". Also for the Mustangs, sophomore Juliana McCuaig was just one spot back of scoring, finishing ninth at 38' 2.75".
Nielsen ranks No. 3 in school history for the event. The senior achieved her top-15 regional ranking less than an hour after also contributing to the 4x100-meter relay team (along with Mishe' Scott, Ralaina LiDrazzah and Jessica Escalante), which finished sixth in 46.55 seconds.
Meanwhile, at her first collegiate track championships, Izzo won the women's 5,000 meters with a time of 17 minutes, 24.91 seconds, edging fellow freshman Peyton Bilo (who won the 10K Friday night) at 17:30.66.
Four Mustang teammates also competed in the 5,000: sophomore Maddie McDonald (in 11th place at 18:08.85), juniors Rachel Bush (12th, 18:10.52) & Kylie Nishisaka (15th, 18:17.23) and freshman Hannah Hull (19th, 18:23.09).
It was actually the second event of the day that saw Izzo earn all-conference status. Two hours earlier, she also finished third in the 1,500 meters, at 4:22.96 (only one-hundredth of a second off her fastest pace, which ranks 10th in program history). Hull, in her Mustang track debut, tallied two points from a seventh-place 4:37.86, and senior Erika Veidis was 10th at 4:48.06.
Woolf claimed his second title within the two days, winning the men's 5K in 14:52.81 — ahead of junior teammate Clayton Hutchins' 14:53.99. The championship — won in back-to-back fashion — is the fifth overall in Woolf's track career, now complementing three 3,000m steeplechase crowns.
The Mustangs also had three others clock in the top 15 for the men's 5,000: senior Luis Morales (13th at 15:11.47) and juniors Swarnjit Boyal (12th, 15:11.13) & David Galvez (15th, 15:14.08). Additionally, six teammates swept spots 20 through 25: James Welsh (15:17.67), Dimitri Voytilla (15:18.09), Logan Marshall (15:19.12), Mikey Giguere (15:19.17), Peter Cotsirilos (15:22.51) and Garrett Migliozzi (15:24.83), while Alex Heuchert was also 27th (15:27.56).
To start the afternoon, Devin Bennett also had an historic performance. After compiling the fifth-leading decathlon score all-time at Cal Poly a week ago, the senior earned an all-conference accolade in the javelin, as well, moving from No. 10 in school history to No. 8 while finishing second with a mark of 206' 3" on his sixth and final attempt.
Fellow senior Alex Ziebart also saved his best throw for last, adding four more team points thanks to his fifth-place javelin finish of 197' 9".
In the men's 110m high hurdles, junior Ben Hartinger was fractions of a second away from a second consecutive all-conference plaque, as LBSU's Ryan Colebrook had the edge in a photo finish for third place: 14.432 to 14.440. It was a season-best time for Hartinger.
Allie Sulaitis also had a close fourth-place finish for the Mustangs. The junior's 800m finals time of 2:12.79 earned five points while challenging UCSB senior Tori Tsolis' third-place 2:12.36.
A trio of Mustangs ran in the final for the men's 1,500, led by Hutchins with a sixth-place 3:51.45 to tally three points. Cotsirilos and Migliozzi also were 10th and 11th, at 3:54.65 and 3:57.87.
Another sixth-place performance was had by Aidan Kirwan in the men's 400m hurdles. Kirwan, who ran to a season-best time of 53.07, had the top finish of any underclassman to reach the final.
Mustang sophomore Danielle Taylor scored 1.5 points in the high jump, tying for seventh place with a clearance of 5' 5.25".
In the men's discus, Arnie Sambel also was seventh, posting a mark of 162' 1", followed by junior teammate Nate Vickers in 12th place at 158' 3", a season-best throw.
Connor Crowe, one of only two first-year qualifiers for the men's 800 final, came in ninth place in 1:53.26. Also among nine student-athletes who advanced from Friday's prelims, sophomore Liam Martinez was ninth in the 400 at 49.40, as was junior Mallory Patino in the women's 400 hurdles at 1:05.11.
After anchoring the Mustangs' 4x100 relay team (also consisting of senior Walter Finney, junior Tyler Rohde and freshman Marcus Beloney) to a time of 41.73 (seventh), Ricky Strehlow came in 10th in the triple jump, posting a mark of 45' 9.75".
Cal Poly's Tomi Nord was 11th in the men's pole vault, clearing 15' 7", and another sophomore, Kiely Osby, took 11th in the women's shot put, at 44' 7.5".
At the end of the evening, junior Jessica Rasmussen, sophomore Chloe Carlson, LiDrazzah and freshman Nikki Boggs combined to take seventh place in the women's 4x400 at 3:52.74, before Beloney, Finney, Martinez and Kirwan finished fifth in the men's relay at 3:17.19 (a team-best for 2016).
Several Mustangs will move on to Kansas for the upcoming NCAA West Regional meet from May 26-28 (with the field scheduled to be announced in days to come). The national championships will be hosted by Oregon from June 8-11.
Photos by Steve Chen
Nielsen, Izzo, Woolf Finish Big West Championships With Conference Titles
Bennett, Hutchins, Bilo Also Earn All-Conference Accolades