May 16, 2014
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DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman Holly Tokar won the women's pole vault with a career-best mark while sophomore Christine Hoffman's win led a dominant showing by UC Davis in the women's 10,000-meter run as the Aggies ended the first day of the Big West Track and Field Championships at Woody Wilson Track solidly in second place.
The Aggie men, led by a third-place finish by Ben Parodi in the hammer throw, scored 27 points through the first seven events and are in fifth place. Long Beach State has 58 points to lead the early standings.
Cal State Northridge, with a strong showing in the field events, has 72 points through eight event finals and leads the Aggies, who have 53, by 19 points.
Tokar, a freshman from Ventura, entered the meet with a personal-best mark of 12 feet, 8.75 inches - good enough for third on the Aggies' all-time list - but improved that by 3-1/2 inches when she cleared 13-0.25 on her second attempt. That keeps her at the No. 3 spot at UC Davis but makes her the third UC Davis vaulter to ever clear 13 feet. More importantly, it delivered the women 10 points as they chase their third consecutive Big West Championship.
Hoffman and her teammates in the grueling 10,000 gave the UC Davis women a end-of-the-day blitz of points, grabbing first, fourth, fifth and eighth places. That provided 20 points for the Aggies who pushed several athletes through event prelims into finals on Saturday.
Hoffman gave the Aggies their third consecutive winner in the 10,000 - Sarah Sumpter won the last two - as she raced to a nearly nine-second win in 36.30.70. Sarah Schreck of UC Santa Barbara was second (36:39.05) while the Aggies' Shannon Harcus (36:40.49), Hannah Kirkegaard (36:53.60) and Nicole Lane (37:24.85) added great depth to the scoring total. UC Davis totaled 20 points in the 10,000.
For the men, Parodi posted a PR in the hammer throw - the first event of the day - to give the Aggies an early six points. He marked at 189-3 on his fourth throw, pushing him to seventh all-time at UC Davis. Matthew Bender
picked up sixth-place points with his distance of 180-9.
Brandon Greenberg had a strong fourth-place showing in the shot put, finishing with a career-best effort of 56-10.25 that improved his No. 5 all-time position at UC Davis. Parodi added points by finishing eighth (52-9.25). Other points on Friday for UC Davis came from Maurice Spikes who was fourth in the high jump (6-7), Sava Boyadjiev who was fifth in the long jump at 22-5 and Brandon Pugh (30:44.88) and Grayson Hough (30:58.93) who were seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 10K.
Besides scoring points, the day was also about qualifying athletes for finals on Saturday. The women had four marks that led the field. Ashley Marshall, defending champion in the 100 and 200, moved on in both races while leading the 100 qualifiers with a time of 11.50. Cekarri Nixon, who advanced in the 200, had the day's best time in the 400 (53.88), Kellie Grigg went 1:00.79 in the 400 hurdles to post the fastest time there, and Shanie Landen and Raquel Lambdin went 1-2 in the 800.
On the men's side, Marcus Johnson was a double-qualifier in the 100 and 200. He finished in a PR of 10.48 to lead the field in that race and then went 21.61 to qualify second in the 200. Boyadjiev and Kaio Sena also advanced in the 100, giving the Aggies a big presence in Saturday's final. Boyadjiev moved on in the 200 as well.
Nathan Strum improved his No. 3 all-time standing at UC Davis by going a career-best 1:50.02 in the 800 - the fastest time of the day - and will be joined by freshman Alex Grigoriev and sophomore Trevor Ehlenbach. Karl Moran qualified third in the 400 hurdles after finishing second overall in the 110 high hurdles prelims.
Saturday's events begin with the men's javelin at noon while events on the track start with the 4x100 relays at 2:08 p.m. The meet will be televised by Fox Sports West beginning at 2 p.m.