Track and field kicks off season in Arizona at indoor Lumberjack Challenge

Track and field kicks off season in Arizona at indoor Lumberjack Challenge

Vincent Perez

Sports Editor

CSU Bakersfield’s indoor track and field 2018 season is underway after the Lumberjack Team Challenge in Flagstaff, Arizona, hosted by Northern Arizona University, on Friday, Jan. 19.

Strong showings from pole vault star Julianne Finch, freshman high jump student-athlete Antonia Beason and sophomore Falon Wilson, who competed in three events, led the women’s Roadrunner team. Wilson placed top ten in all her events.

“It was our best opener we’ve had [in my coaching career], so there’s a lot to be encouraged about,” said Director of Track and Field, Marcia Mansur-Wentworth, in her seventh year as director.

Finch placed first after a jump-off final for the pole vault competition (11 for 11.75 feet, three-quarter inch) against Cal State Fullerton sophomore Shelby Noble. Beason, a Florida native, placed third in the high jump of 1.60 meters. She was recruited by CSUB originally to be a diver, but joined the track and field team instead.

“I definitely feel good, especially since it’s my first track meet of my college career. I was really excited,” said Beason. On switching from diving to high jump, Beason said, “Some things just don’t work out.”

She is still grateful for her opportunities. “I believe everything happens for a reason. One thing just happened to excel, and the other didn’t.”

Not far behind Beason, freshman Hannah Walker placed third with a 1.55-meter jump and senior Susannah Vera was fifth.
Wilson recorded her best 60-meter dash time, 7.77 at Flagstaff, lowering her best from 7.81, to earn 10th place. She also finished seventh in the 60 hurdles (9.09) and ended her day by placing fourth in long jump (5.55 meters).

Senior Angel Valdez finished fourth in the 3000. She finished in 11:02.03 against stiff competition.

“Angel put her nose in it,” said Mansur-Wentworth. She said that Valdez had a good learning experience because she raced against colleges who live in higher altitudes than Bakersfield, such as Northern Arizona and Southern Utah University. Mansur-Wentworth said she is not worried about Valdez. Sophomore Alejandra Frausto placed seventh (11:56.20) behind Valdez in the 3000.

In the 60 race, sophomore sprinter Mariah Lesure placed 19th (7.86) and Alisha Byrd was 44th (8.44). Lesure also finished 26th in the 200, and freshman Jasmine Walker was 32nd.

Sophomore Paradise Pelzer participated in the 1-mile run and finished in 6:01.9. Pelzer finished 20th.
In the hurdles, CSUB finished 10th of 11th, in 4:12. The University of Northern Las Vegas’ team was first in 3:45.70.
Mansur-Wentworth desires more for her track and field student-athletes at the next indoor competition.

“I’m hoping we can put more people on the podium,” she said.

“Indoors is something we can’t put a lot of emphasis on,” said Mansur-Wentworth. She said that the nearest indoor facility to train at is eight hours away, making it harder to train for an indoor event.

She said, “We don’t have the opportunities that some of the other schools in our conference. They’re much more prepared than we are, so, we just do what we do and put people on the podium.”

The CSUB men’s track and field team has yet to compete, but will at the next event.
Coming up, the Roadrunners return to Flagstaff for the two-day indoor Mountain T’s Invitational Feb. 2-3. Following that, CSUB will compete in the Sunbird Invitational Feb. 17 in Fresno, California to prepare for the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in Boise, Idaho Feb. 22-24.