Chris Shiley, who shined at Citrus Valley before launching a brilliant career at Riverside City College, lined up as a relay team member for Cal State Fullerton last Saturday night.
The Titans’ 4 x 400 relay times had been going down steadily in leading to last weekend’s NCAA Division I West preliminaries at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento.
Blazing to a 3:05.16, the Titans took third in their heat, trailing only Texas A&M (3:03.05) and Texas Christian (3:04.39) and propelled themselves into the NCAA championships.
Fullerton posted a 3:20 in a March 1 invitational followed by a 3:11 on March 16 at another invitational at Arizona State.
At the Steve Scott Invitational at UC Irvine’s Anteater Stadium on April 27, Parris Samaniego, Shiley, Resaun House and Marcel Espinosa ran 3:12.34, second to UC Riverside’s 3:11.
When the gun went off at the May 10 Big West Conference finals, that same quartet beat the field in 3:08, outgunning UCR by a fraction with Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara taking 3-4-5.
It wasn’t going to be easy to land a spot at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas next month.
Shiley & Co. was lining up in a heat that included Brigham Young University, Texas Christian, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Washington, Stephen F. Austin (Texas) and Colorado.
By scoring a third place finish, the Titans automatically qualified for the national championships.
Boise State -- Distance star Claire Graves, now in her sophomore season, won a spot in the women’s 5,000-meter field. She ran 16:36 at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento at the NCAA Division I West Region, unable to qualify for the national collegiate championships next month.
Graves’ Boise State teammate, Allie Ostrander, was the top qualifier off a 15:30 run.
Like Shiley, Graves is a Citrus Valley product who has a 16:26 clocking in the women’s distance event. She qualified with a 16:44, 14th place run at the Mountain West Conference championships earlier this month.
It wasn’t going to be easy for Graves, a multiple cross country and track & field champion in Lady Blackhawks’ colors between 2014-2017.
Plenty of runners with sub 16-minute times were after those top five heat finishes, plus top two times from each of two heats.
NCAA DIVISION II
Cal Poly Pomona freshman discus thrower Ana Tovi, a San Gorgonio High product, fell 25 feet behind Ashland College freshman Lindsay Baker. That was in the first flight.
Plenty more discus throwers at last week’s NCAA Division II track & field championships at Texas A&M-Kingsville surged past Tovi, who left San G as an all-star weight-events champion.
She took 21st place at the NCAAs.
Tovi, who can also shot put and is growing in the hammer throw, fired a 134-foot, 7-inch effort on her first discus toss. She followed that up with a 129-10 effort.
NCAA DIVISION III
University of Redlands graduate student Reyna Ta’amu, who set the No. 1 mark in the shot put back in March, completed her run to the NCAA women’s championship off a 49-foot, 7-inch effort at Mount (OH) Union College last Friday.
She won by 1 ½-inches.
Tucker Cargile, part of a group of 800-meter finalists in the 1:51 range, ran 1:52.84, taking fourth in the championship race.
There was no surprise in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, both Jessica Fields and Chyenne Kimble qualifying for the finals.
In the finals. Fields took third in 14.01, trailing Bridgewater State’s Jayci Andrews’ winning 13.66. Kimble ran 14.23, finishing last in the field.
In the women’s 400-hurdles, Fields took seventh in 1:01.42, trailing Dilys Osai of Emory (Ga.), the winner in 58.98.