May 8, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - The 2014 Big West Track and Field Championships at UC Davis' Woody Wilson Track will be in full force next weekend but the meet officially begins this Friday and Saturday with the heptathlon and decathlon as 26 competitors look to score early points for their teams.
The Aggies' Kira Rienecker and Murphy Nicholson are among the 11 heptathletes who will begin competition with the 100-meter hurdles at 1 p.m. They'll follow with the high jump, shot put and 200 on Friday before continuing with the long jump, javelin and 800 on Saturday.
Freshman Hawk Hammer is UC Davis' lone entry in the 15-competitor decathlon that starts with the 100-meter dash on Friday at 1:30 p.m. It'll continue with the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 before finishing on Saturday with the 110 high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500.
Events on Saturday begin at 11 a.m. for the decathlon and 1 p.m. for the heptathlon. Admission is free for both days.
Four scorers from last year's heptathlon return to the field this year. Tori Usgaard from UC Santa Barbara is the highest returning placer after finishing fourth last year with 4,828 points. Stephanie Hicks of Cal State Northridge (4,773) was fifth, Hawaii's Kaeligh Morris (4,754) and Jealinda Mills (4,478) of Northridge was eighth.
Rienecker finished ninth last year with 4,418 points and enters this year's meet with a career-best score of 4,508 which she earned at the Chico Multi Classic at the start of this season. Nicholson posted a PR of 4,043 points at Chico this year after placing 14th with 3,768 points at last year's Big West Championships.
Rienecker and Nicholson are fourth and 10th, respectively, on the Aggies' all-time list.
On the men's side, Cal Poly's Devin Powers was fourth with 6,989 points in the decathlon and headlines the returners. Taylor Cudequist (6,183, 8th) of Cal State Northridge and Ike Okpara (5,802, 11th) of UC Santa Barbara also return.
Hammer has competed in two decathlons during his first year of college track and field, scoring a season-high 5,282 points at Chico State and then following with 5,165 at the Mondo Mid-Major Classic.
Morrison is ranked No. 1 in the Big West heptathlon this season with a season-best 5,186 points while Rienecker is fifth and Nicholson is ninth. Bennett's 7,069 decathlon points at the Mondo Mid-Major Classic has him ranked No. 1. Hammer is 10th.
The UC Davis women begin the Big West Championships as two-defending champions. Next week's meet runs on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available here.