May 9, 2012
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State track & field team heads back to Irvine this weekend as it continues the Big West Championships with the main events, May 11-12, at Anteater Stadium.
BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Big West Championships return to Anteater Stadium for the second year in a row. This is also the third time in the last four seasons that UC Irvine will be hosting the championship meet.
The competition gets underway on Friday, May 11, with the field events at 9 a.m. and the track events beginning at 2 p.m. The meet concludes on Saturday, May 12, with the same start times. On the final day, the women's hammer throw kicks things off at 9 a.m. and the men's 4x100 relay is the first scheduled track event at 2 p.m.
LBSU has five athletes ranked first in their events. Shakina Phillips (100H, 13.65), Chris Lawson (400H, 51.51), Steven DeCastro (Steeplechase, 9:02.22), Jacob Weintraub (Discus, 178-02) and Ben Woodruff (Javelin, 243-02) have all posted the conference's top marks during the regular season.
The 49er men won their third Big West title in 2011, while the women had their best finish since 2008 as they came in fourth. Ben Woodruff (Javelin), Tyler Wallace (Pole Vault) and Phylicia Johnson (Long Jump) are the reigning individual conference champions in their respective events. Also earning All-Big West honors last year were Rosa Del Toro, Katrina Graves-Johnson, Koree Hines, Chris Lawson, Manny Neizer and Shakina Phillips.
LAST TIME OUT
LBSU put itself in prime position after the Big West heptathlon and decathlon at Anteater Stadium last weekend. All of the 49ers' multi-event athletes scored as the women are currently first with 19 points and the men are second with 11 points.
Sara Macey was the runner-up in the heptathlon with a lifetime-best 5,160 points, which ranks third in school history. Kristen Kiefer placed fourth overall (4,985) and Phylicia Johnson took fifth (4,932). Wendy Izquierdo rounded out the quartet in seventh with 4,809 points.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE WEST
Fifteen 49ers rank among the top 50 in the West Region in their respective events. Leading the way is Ben Woodruff, who is fifth in the javelin with his lifetime-best 243-02. Katrina Graves-Johnson is also tied for 10th in the high jump at 5-10.75, while Tyler Wallace is at No. 18 in the pole vault (17-03.50). Adding marks that rank among the top 50 are Jacob Weintraub (Shot Put and Discus), Chris Lawson (400H and 110H), Gabe Hilbert (800m), Koree Hines (110H), Sam Jeter (400H), Steven DeCastro (3000m Steeplechase), Jacob Fraser (Discus), Shakina Phillips (100H and 400H), Sara Macey (High Jump and Heptathlon), Jessica Barnard (3000m Steeplechase), Kristen Kiefer (Heptathlon) and Phylicia Johnson (Heptathlon).
49ERS RACK UP BIG WEST WEEKLY AWARDS
Long Beach State claimed six Big West Athlete of the Week awards this season. Tyler Wallace was the most recent winner as he earned the honor on April 24. Wallace was the top collegiate finisher and placed third overall in the pole vault at the Beach Invitational, clearing a season-high 17-03.50. His mark ranks second in the Big West, 18th in the West Region and 34th in the nation.
Ben Woodruff earned his third honor of the year on April 17, after winning the javelin with a record-breaking toss of 243-02 at the Big West Challenge in Fullerton. His mark was a school, conference, meet and stadium record. Woodruff currently ranks first in the Big West, fifth in the West Region and 11th in the nation.
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 (178-02) 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 has continued to improve her 1500m time as she recently established a school-record 4:24.97 at the Steve Scott Invitational (April 29).
Long Beach State will have a week off before heading to Austin, Texas, for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds, May 24-26. The NCAA Outdoor Championships are set for June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
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