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Long Beach State track & field looks to defend Big West Challenge title on Friday

The Long Beach State men are looking for their fifth consecutive Big West Challenge team title.

April 11, 2012

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Big West Challenge Schedule

LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State track & field team makes the short trip to Fullerton on Friday, April 13, for the 20th annual Big West Challenge. The 49er men are looking for their fifth consecutive team victory.

The Big West Challenge will be held at Titan Track Complex on Friday. The quad meet features Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and host Cal State Fullerton in a scored competition. The field events begin with the hammer at 2:30 p.m., while the track events are set to start with the 3000m steeplechase at 5 p.m.

The 2011 49er men won their fourth consecutive Big West Challenge Cup with a meet-record 223.5 points, while the women placed third with 165.5 points. Manny Neizer won the triple jump and Michael Vaughan finished second. Ben Woodruff also took runner-up honors in the javelin. On the track, Nathan Alade (100m and 200m) and Christopher Lawson (110H) both had second-place showings in their respective events.

Katrina Graves-Johnson led the women with an individual victory in the high jump. Shari Harris was the runner-up in the hammer throw, while Rosa Del Toro (1500m) and Jessica Barnard (3000m steeplechase) also finished second.

Long Beach State has claimed four Big West Athlete of the Week awards so far this season. Ben Woodruff earned his second honor of the year on Tuesday, April 3, after winning the javelin by 19 feet at the Cal-Nevada Championships. He registered a lifetime-best 235-10, which is tops in the conference, second in school history, fourth in the West Region and 10th in the nation. Woodruff was previously named the Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Week when he notched a then personal-record 235-04 to finish ahead of the pack at the Beach Classic (March 2).

Jacob Weintraub also collected Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Week honors on March 27. Weintraub won the discus and finished third in the shot put at the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational. He is currently tops in the conference in the discus (170-00) and second in the shot put (58-07.25).

Rosa Del Toro was tabbed the Big West Women's Track Athlete of the Week on March 20. Del Toro finished third overall in the 1500m at the rain-shortened Aztec Invitational. Despite running in inclement weather, she clocked in at 4:29.36, just .32 seconds off her previous lifetime best. The Van Nuys native currently ranks fifth in program history as she recently notched a personal-record 4:28.44 at the Cal-Nevada Championships.

Entering this weekend, the 49ers have registered 68 Big West qualifying marks. Qualifying in three or more events are Jessica Barnard (800m, 1500m, 3000m Steeplechase, 5000m), Kristen Kiefer (200m, 100H, 400H, LJ), Sara Macey (100H, HJ, Javelin) and Jacob Fraser (Shot, Discus, Hammer).

Long Beach State has a busy week ahead as it prepares to host the Beach Invitational (April 20-21), while also competing in the Mt. SAC/Cal Multi-Events (April 18-19) and the Mt. SAC Relays (April 19-21).



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