May 1, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - UC Davis and Sacramento State will take to the track for their annual Causeway Dual showdown as the Aggies and Hornets square off at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College on Friday.
Events start with the hammer throw at 2 p.m. and the shot put at 2:15. Events on the track begin at 5:10 p.m. with the men's 4x100 relay and continue through the women's 4x400 which takes place at 7:40.
The Aggies will be trying to turn the tide against the Hornets this year. Sacramento State holds a 5-2 advantage in the men's duals while the Hornet women lead 6-0-1. Last season, UC Davis rallied to forge a 94-94 tie on the women's side by capturing the meet-ending 4x400 relay. Sacramento State took a 120-68 decision on the men's side.
Besides local bragging rights, the meet serves as a tool for UC Davis to begin preparations for the upcoming Big West Championships at Woody Wilson Track. After spending most of the season chasing times and marks, the emphasis begins to focus on scoring points. Times take a relative backseat to finishing ahead of as many competitors as possible.
"Chronologically, the placement of the Causeway ends up being, for lack of a better term, a 'dress rehearsal' for conference in both the sense of looking at people in primary events and the beginning of also competing simply for placement and points, which is obviously paramount in the postseason," said head coach Drew Wartenburg. "The meet is a great way to go head to head against just one team.
"On both sides, there's nowhere to hide in terms of who we put out there and then once you're on the track," he added.
The dual meet will also allow the Aggies to continue building the teamwork aspect of competing. Rather than focusing on their own performances, the focus will shine just as brightly on supporting teammates who share the common goal of scoring as many points as possible.
"That's something we try to keep as a baseline throughout the season," Wartenburg said. "But it is hard when you're splitting the squad for two different locations on a weekend. This weekend is great because we're taking 30-40 athletes from each team. Ideally, that's when the athletes can turn around and say 'we're here as a team.' "
With the postseason looming and the all-important Big West Championships two weeks away (multi-events are next week), depth will be a key to the Aggies' chances. Wartenburg has been pleased with a lot of the athletes that are helping provide that depth, noting that they are capable of rising up for a dominant performance as well.
"This is the time of year when you count on your 'go-to' folks but you also begin to look for the ones that are either 'sleepers' or are under the radar," he said. "People like Praise Adesida or Matthew Bender in the throws that are coming around and are putting good days together and really figure prominently at the conference level.
"There's also someone like a Trevor Halsted who's lurking in both the 5k and the 1,500 on the distance side," he added. "In the sprints, both in the relay and in the lane events, Leslie Reed is someone that's right off what someone like Ashley Marshall is doing. Holly Miller is coming around too. On the men's side, the fact that were healthy, period, in the sprints is good. Karl Moran has always been a factor but this year has emerged as more of a hitter and he and Marcus Johnson give people two folks to rally around, which is important."
UC Davis is scheduled to send Alycia Cridebring (5,000) and Nathan Strum (1,500) to the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday evening. That'll be the final Aggie competition prior to the Big West Championships. The heptathlon and decathlon will take place on May 9-10 with the full meet following on May 16-17. Both portions of the championship will be held at Woody Wilson Track.