Seniors Karnell Grimes and Bryan Wilmert highlighted a successful week for the CSU Bakersfield track and field team at the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships, which were held from May 13 to May 16 at Orem, Utah.
Wilmert, who was the first CSUB athlete to win a WAC title last year, was able to repeat as champion in the hammer throw on May 15. He won by five feet with an 189 foot and 7 inch toss. Wilmert also was able to post a new personal best (49-04) to take third place.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Wilmert said on repeating as WAC champion. “All the hard work I put in the last two years just shows that I’ve done what I have come her to accomplish. It felt like it was a dream. I didn’t actually believe that I had actually done it again, but with all the crappy conditions that happened, it was just a good feeling of accomplishment.”
Grimes, who’s a redshirt-senior, entered his final javelin throw on May 16 in fourth place, but thanks to a best of 199 feet and 4 inches on his final throw, he became the second CSUB athlete to win conference titles since the Roadrunners joined the WAC.
“It was, first off, a feeling of relief because going into finals I was in fourth place, so when I threw that 199-4, it actually took me up to first,” Grimes said. “It was a feeling of relief and just awe and awesomeness. I was just glad.”
Grimes said that as he threw it, he knew that he was going to win.
“When I threw it, I could feel it and I could see that it was a throw that was going to get me to first,” he said. “I didn’t know how far, but I knew it beat whatever the first place guy had. It just means that I have come a long way. I was a nobody trying to be somebody, and just with a great coaching staff like Alan Collatz, who’s such a phenomenal coach and just a mentor in my life has just helped me grow as a person, athlete and as a javelin thrower.”
Wilmert added that the performance by Grimes and himself will help future CSUB athletes.
“It’s tremendous because we were looked at as the guys, who are supposed to get the majority of the points,” he said. “The people who are supposed to kind of lead the team. We try to lead by example, so to get the gold medals we were hoping that we would inspire and help the other young guys to eventually get their gold medals in the years to come.”
CSUB director of track and field Marcia Mansur-Wentworth said she thought her team had a good week at the WAC Outdoor Championships.
“Great performances by Karnell, Bryan, and Richie [Maestre] to earn All-WAC,” Mansur-Wentworth said to gorunners.com. “Marina [Emhoff] had a great day in the 400m and Ariana [Mariscal] earned her third All-WAC despite fighting a cold. Jose [Espinoza] earned two All-WACs as a freshman. It was a big improvement.”
Redshirt-sophomore Emhoff posted her personal best in the final of the 400-meter race. She finished in fifth with a time of 56.57 seconds. She earned her first All-Conference honors by making the second team, and she was able to jump up six spots on the CSUB Top 20 list to 11th all-time.
Both Mariscal and Maestre finished in sixth place to earn second team All-WAC honors. Redshirt-senior Maestre finished in 53.83 in the 400-meter hurdles. Sophomore Mariscal finished the 800-meter race in 2 minutes and 16.37 seconds.
The CSUB men’s team finished in sixth out of seven teams with a team total of 45 points. The women’s team finished seventh out of eight WAC teams with 24 points. According to gorunners.com, Wilmert is expected to represent the Roadrunners at the NCAA West Preliminary Meet in Austin, Texas from May 28-30.
“I’m definitely looking forward to punching my ticket into Nationals, so I’m just trying to stay focused and just trying to get another good mark in,” Wilmert said.