Track and field wins two meets in four-day span

San+Diego+State+track+and+field+senior+pole+vaulter+Kaitlin+Heri+competes+during+the+Mountain+West+Challenge+on+April+7%2C+2021+at+the+Aztrack+Sports+Deck.

Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics

San Diego State track and field senior pole vaulter Kaitlin Heri competes during the Mountain West Challenge on April 7, 2021 at the Aztrack Sports Deck.

by Marco Perez, Staff Writer

The San Diego State track and field team won the two meets it competed in this past week. The Aztecs took first in the Mountain West Challenge at the Aztrack Sports Deck on Wednesday, and first at the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego on Saturday. 

The Scarlet and Black hosted UNLV, Oregon State and Nevada for the Mountain West Challenge and took first with 179 points, followed by Oregon State’s 131 and UNLV’s 123. 

At the Triton Invitational, the Aztecs competed alongside host UC San Diego, as well as UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge. SDSU won with a total of 99 points, followed by UCSD’s 70 and UCR’s 69.

Of the 27 events the Aztecs competed in between both meets, they had someone place first in 17 of them.

The Aztecs also had three of their athletes compete in the heptathlon at the Franson Classic at Azusa Pacific on Friday and Saturday. Junior Sara Absten placed fifth with 4,780 points, closely followed by Sophomore Ruthie Grant-Williams with 4,687 points. Senior Asia Smith finished with 3,554 points after competing in only five of the seven events.

Mountain West Challenge

The Aztecs had an athlete place first in nine events and had numerous athletes set new career-bests. One of those athletes with a career-best was senior pole vaulter Kaitlin Heri. She became the fifth Aztec ever to clear 14 feet and became one of eight people in the country to have cleared 14 feet so far this season. 

“I am super excited, it’s an incredible feeling,” Heri said of her achievement. “I’ve been working towards this since my freshman year and I’m excited that I finally reached that mark. I know I am going to jump a lot higher, so I’m pretty excited about that.”

Heri’s performance was recognized by the Mountain West Conference on April 13, as she was honored with the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week award.

The goal for the team has always been to be at its peak levels of performance when the conference championships come in May. So while Heri and other student-athletes are setting personal-records, they are leaving themselves room to do even better.

“The goal is not to be running or jumping or running as fast as we possibly can right now,” Heri said. “We still have another month of training until the conference championships. We’re just going to get better, stronger and faster so that we can be at our peak at that point. But I mean, for me at least, I’m always trying to PR. I’m never holding back, I’m always trying to jump higher.”

Senior hurdler Maya Brosch just missed out on another PR, running a 58.99 in the 400-meter hurdles. Fellow hurdler, junior Danae Dyer won the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.42. 

Sophomore sprinter Jada Moore won the 200m dash with a time of 24.00 and placed second in the 100m dash with a time of 11.83. Senior Jalyn Harris won the 400m dash with a time of 54.15.

The Aztec 4x100m relay team of sophomore Alexus Alexander, sophomore Aisha Watt, freshman Rhea Hoyte and junior Vanessa Spizewski placed first with a time of 46.54.

Junior Jordyn Bryant finished first in the shot put with a throw of 48-10.25 and also finished second in the discus with a throw of 167-2. Fellow Aztec, junior Erica Grotegeer, finished ahead of Bryant in the discus with a throw of 171-5 to earn first place in the event. 

In addition, sophomore Jessica Kain continues her impressive season by winning the 3,000m run with a time of 10:01.50.

Triton Invitational

The Aztecs had an athlete place first in eight of the 10 events after competing in the Mountain West Challenge four days prior. 

Harris won the 100m dash with a personal best time of 11.97 seconds. The Aztecs also took second (Watt, 12.05), third (Alexander, 12.19) and fourth (Spizewski 12.85, PR).

Junior Nyjari McNeil won the 800m run with a season-best time of 2:10.46.

SDSU held the top four spots in the pole vault. Heri placed first clearing 13-06.25. The trio that included freshman Kaitlyn Swenson, sophomore Elizabeth Funk and junior Delaney Fields all tied for second with a mark of 12-02.00.

Junior Jade Cany tied for first in the high jump and tied her personal best after clearing 5-07.00. Spizewski placed first in the long jump with a jump of 18-02.50. 

The Aztecs swept the discus. Grotegeer took first with a throw of 165-11, followed by junior Felicia Crenshaw with a throw of 160-7, a personal best for her. Bryant placed third in the discus with a throw of 160-3 and placed first in the shot put competition with a throw of 47-07.00.

Dyer took first in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.57, despite a strong headwind.

SDSU took first, second and third in the 200m dash. Moore led the way with a time of 24.63, followed by Watt (24.71) and Brosch (25.39, PR).

Up next for the Scarlet and Black is a trip to Azusa Pacific University, where the team will compete in the Brian Clay Invitational on April 16 and 18.

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