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Tjerrild, Daschian Win Titles for Cal Poly at Big West Championships

Tjerrild, Daschian Win Titles for Cal Poly at Big West Championships

Jaques, Ritter Also Earn All-Conference Honors While 13 Mustangs Advance to Day 2 Track & Field Finals

GOLETA, Calif. — Brooke Tjerrild won the women's pole vault conference title on Friday, before Miranda Daschian won the women's 10,000-meter crown, leading Cal Poly through Day 1 of the Big West Track & Field Championships at UC Santa Barbara.

In addition to 13 Mustangs advancing to Saturday's finals at Pauley Track, 12 teammates earned PRs while nine more posted season-best performances.


Tjerrild's championship came with a clearance of 13 feet, 3 inches. In the process, the sophomore became only the second woman in the 23-year history of the event at the meet to win the pole vault title in consecutive years.

Eventually matched up with Gaucho senior Cassidy Peng (who also jumped 12' 9" on her first try) as the remaining challenger to her crown, Tjerrild needed only one attempt to clear her victorious height.

Then all alone, Tjerrild had the bar raised to 13' 9", taking a few runs at a potential school-record vault, just missing out on what would've also been an all-time conference record. Already No. 2 in school history for the event, she stands a very strong chance of continuing in the postseason to the First Round of the NCAA Championships in Sacramento later this month.

To close Day 1, Daschian captured her championship with a time of 35:14.42, besting UC Davis' Sarah Anderson by 11.38 seconds for the title. The effort was a PR by 1:56.7 over her third-place finish from a year ago at the meet.

Cal Poly also tallied a PR in the nightcap thanks to Peyton Bilo, who came in fourth place with a performance of 35:27.10 — 1:19.7 ahead of her pace from her previous best in 2016. Angela DiPentino also took 11th place for the Mustangs, clocking a 37:26.49.

MUSTANGS IN 3RD, 4TH: Through first-day action, Cal Poly is in third place in the women's team standings with 55 points — 6.5 back of Cal State Fullerton's lead and 6 shy of host UCSB for second. Long Beach State's women's squad, which entered the meet looking to repeat, resides in fifth upon a 26-point total.

Meanwhile the LBSU men are in strong position to dethrone Fullerton and deny the Titans' bid for a three-peat, as the 49ers lead with 64 points. The Mustangs hold fourth place on the men's side with 27 points, three back of UCD for third.

JAQUES JOINS ALL-TIME CAL POLY TOP 10: Not to be overshadowed by Tjerrild's historic day, Mustang junior pole vaulter Sydney Jaques also made some history of her own Friday. Jaques, a junior, made her first All-Big West Team by taking third place with a clearance of 12' 9".

The huge PR for Jaques — a collegiate-best by five-and-a-half inches and a lifetime-best by an inch — moved to No. 9 in school history.

RITTER ALSO EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE HONOR: Jake Ritter closed the evening by almost winning his second conference title this year, taking second place in the men's 10,000 meters, in 30:49.87. While improving his previous attempt at the distance by more than three minutes, the sophomore was edged in a thrilling finish by 65-hundredths of a second by Gaucho rival Nick Randazzo.

Three more Mustangs also scored in the men's 10,000m: John Bennett, who took fifth in 30:55.09; Justin Robison, seventh at 30:59.20, a PR; and Will Fallini-Haas, eighth in 31:17.49. True freshman Xian Shively was one spot back of scoring, finishing ninth via 31:23.71, followed by teammates Benjamin Holland in 11th (at a career-best 31:54.11) & Chas Cook 12th (31:59.43).

FISK SHOOTS UP TO NO. 5 IN PROGRAM HISTORY FOR STEEPLE: Sophomore Abbey Fisk led a trio of Mustangs in the women's 3,000m steeplechase, earning fourth place in 10:46.95. With the PR by almost nine seconds, she catapulted from ninth in school history for the event to No. 5. 

Delaney Fitzsimmons also scored, taking seventh with a season-best 10:56.91, and Michaela Barros added a 16th-place 11:53.41.

BETCHART ALMOST MAKES MEDAL STAND AS TRUE FRESHMAN: At his first trip to the championships, Nick Betchart nearly made the medal stand for the shot put, as the freshman came in fourth place with a mark of 54' 0.5". Parker Jenks also came in 17th with a toss of 48' 0.5".

McDERMOTT, RUOTOLO POST FIFTH-PLACE SHOWINGS: Battling back from an earlier-season injury, Mustang senior Sean McDermott — the defending conference champion for the 3,000m steeplechase — came in fifth place with a time of 9:23.57. He graduates as a back-to-back scorer at the finals.

Julianna Ruotolo also took fifth place, matching her season-best high jump of 5' 5". She cleared the height on just one attempt, before just missing getting over the bar after it was raised to 5' 7".

HANSEN SHATTERS PR; MOONEY ALSO SCORES IN JAVELIN: Cal Poly freshman Paige Hansen smashed her PR by a whopping 14 feet while taking sixth place in the javelin, throwing to 140' 11".

Megan Mooney also scored for the fourth time in her career, recording an eighth-place javelin point at 134' 1". Teammate Sarah Greenberg came in 14th place with a mark of 121' 5".

SCRANTON, LANOVAZ ADD POINTS THANKS TO SEASON-BEST PERFORMANCES: Cal Poly's Allison Scranton tallied sixth place at her final conference meet, establishing a season-best throw in the women's discus: 157' 2".

Early on in the afternoon, Caice Lanovaz added an eighth-place finish in the women's long jump, also bettering her season-best mark by 1.5", landing at 18' 11.25".

MERDER, CROWE BOTH ADVANCE NO. 1: Cal Poly senior Alex Merder was the day's top qualifier from the men's 1,500-meter prelims, advancing with a time of 3:54.99. Meanwhile a duo of true freshmen also join him in moving on to Day 2: Elias Opsahl (the third qualifier, via 3:55.38) and Anthony Benitez (eighth in 3:57.22).

A couple hours later, Cal Poly chalked up another top qualifier in Connor Crowe, whose 800m prelims performance of 1:54.35 snared the top spot. Not far behind was freshman Bobby Poynter, the meet's No. 1 seed coming in, who advanced to the final fourth in 1:55.23.

THIARA QUALIFIES 2ND: Bikram Thiara, who last year as a true freshman earned the second-place plaque for the men's 400m hurdles, got his second conference meet out to another great start Friday. Thiara came in second place in the prelims, with a time of 52.78 seconds. Quinn Williams of UC Riverside secured the top seed in the final at 52.14.

ROSS MOVES ON WITH SEASON-BEST, THEN QUALIFIES AGAIN: Mustang junior Molly Ross was Friday's No. 3 qualifier in the 100m hurdle prelims in 14.10 seconds, her fastest time this spring. Then in the early evening, Ross returned for the 400m hurdles, punching one more ticket to the finals, thanks to her eighth-qualifying PR of 1:02.23

HULL, BRILL, LEROUDIER, KASEBERG, ROMANINI ALSO QUALIFY FOR DAY 2: Hannah Hull led a trio of Mustang qualifiers for the women's 1,500m finals, clocking a sixth-advancing time of precisely 4:35.0. Sierra Brill ran a 4:33.81 in the other section to qualify eighth, and Melodie Leroudier also moved on with a ninth-qualifying 4:37.05.

Later on, Ann Caroline Kaseberg also advanced to the 400-meter final, as she qualified eighth with a prelims lap of 56.33 seconds.

Mikaela Romanini would also earn the final qualifying spot to the women's 800m final, advancing in 2:12.04. Three Mustang teammates just missed out on moving on from the prelims heats, as Natalie Grohmann took ninth via 2:12.06, Michelle Chandler was 11th in a season-best 2:12.94, and Kaila Bishop took 13th in 2:18.12.

ALSO IN TOP 15 AT CHAMPIONSHIPS: Dana Kumamoto took 15th in the women's pole vault (with a height of 11' 9.25"), as did Chineme Allison in the 100-meter dash (in 10.88 seconds) as well as Kevin Fernandez in the long jump (with a mark of 21' 10.25").

Hana Welsh came in 12th place during 400m hurdle prelims, in 1:03.04 for a PR, ahead of Erin Moss, 13th at her first prelims, in 1:04.83.

DAY 2 SET FOR 11 O'CLOCK START: Saturday's schedule of events goes from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at UCSB. Day 2 Meet Program (PDF)