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Long Beach State Track & Field Heads to Irvine for Big West Challenge on Friday

The 49ers will compete in the 21st annual Big West Challenge at UC Irvine on Friday.

April 10, 2013

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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State track & field team returns to action following a bye week as it will make the short trip to Irvine for the 21st annual Big West Challenge on Friday, April 12.

The Big West Challenge will be held at UC Irvine's Anteater Stadium. The one-day scored meet features Big West members Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara and host UC Irvine. The field events are set to begin with the men's hammer throw at 2 p.m., while the track events get underway with the men's steeplechase at 6 p.m. The women's 4x400 relay is the last race scheduled with an 8:55 p.m. start time. The 49er men are looking for their sixth-straight Big West Challenge team title. Last year, they finished ahead of the pack with 222 points, while the women took second with 172 points.

Senior co-captain Michael Vaughan has been one of the top triple jumpers in the nation this year. He won the event at the Beach Classic, UCI Spring Break Invitational and Cal-Nevada Championships, while finishing second at the Aztec Invitational. The Rosamond, Calif., native established a personal-record 51-07.25 in the season opener at the Beach Classic on March 3, earning him Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Week honors. Vaughan's mark is tied for eighth in school history and ranks first in the Big West, seventh in the region and 12th in the nation. He is also fifth in indoor school history after winning the triple jump with a leap of 48-10 at the Air Force Team Challenge (Feb. 9).

Sophomore Emily Cooper, who garnered All-Big West honors in the 100m and 200m last year, has continued to lead the way for LBSU's women's sprints squad. The Folsom, Calif., native ranks among the top-10 in the Big West in the 100m (7th, 12.02), 200m (3rd, 24.18) and 400m (6th, 56.00). Cooper's times in the 200m and 400m are personal bests.

The Long Beach State men's throws squad has been dominant in the Big West in recent years and 2013 is shaping up to be no different as a 49er owns the top mark in the conference in three of the four throwing events. Adam Bianchessi (javelin), Jason Harrell (discus) and Joel Baez (hammer) all lead the Big West in their respective events, while senior co-captain Chris Yates is second in the shot put (57-00.25) and the hammer (191-06). He established both marks, which are personal records, at the Ben Brown Invitational on March 9 and was tabbed the Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Week for his effort.

Junior transfer Adam Bianchessi registered a lifetime-best and the fourth-longest javelin distance in LBSU history with a toss of 223-07 at the Aztec Invitational. His mark ranks 11th in the West Region and is among the top-25 in the nation. The Upland, Calif., native has gone for over 200 feet and has placed among the top three in all four meets in which he has competed. Bianchessi picked up back-to-back individual victories in the javelin earlier this year, taking first at the Aztec Invitational and the UCI Spring Break Invitational.

Junior Koree Hines, a two-time All-Big West performer and NCAA West Preliminary qualifier, was named the Big West Men's Track Athlete of the Week following a runner-up finish in the 110m hurdles at the Beach Classic (March 2) where he notched a personal-record 14.21 seconds.

Long Beach State has a busy week ahead as it will compete in the Mt. SAC Decathlon/Heptathlon (April 17-18) and the Mt. SAC Relays (April 18-20) in Walnut, Calif., while hosting the Beach Invitational (April 19-20) at Cerritos College.



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