Fitzgerald breaks UCD steeplechase record

By May 2, 2011

STANFORD — Caitlin Fitzgerald broke the UC Davis women’s steeplechase record at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday, helping to highlight the Aggie track and field teams’ performances at that meet as well as the Asics/Steve Scott Invitational at UC Irvine.

UCD split its squads for the meets last weekend, with the Aggie men picking up marks in both locations that rank in the top 10 on the program’s all-time list.

Fitzgerald led the way for the local women, finishing fourth in her section of the steeplechase at Stanford in 10:26.16, a more than five-second improvement from her previous career best of 10:31.72, also from this year. The senior broke the nine-year-old UCD record of 10:31.65 set by Heather Gibson in 2002.

Aggie teammate Samantha Kearney also moved up the program’s career list, climbing a spot to No. 3 with her time of 10:42.04.

Freshman Nathan Strum provided one of the top-10 marks for the men with an impressive race during his section of the 1,500 at Stanford. He was fourth in 3:48.41, a PR by three seconds and debuting him at No. 6 on UCD’s all-time list.

Teammate Kevin Griffith, also a freshman, solidified his No. 4 ranking in the 800, taking fourth in his section in 1:50.44.

At Irvine, Aggie Eddie Orgon had a huge PR in the shot put, finishing third at 56 feet, 11.25 inches, which bested his previous best of 55-11.75 from last year and vaulted him from fifth all-time to fourth.

UC Irvine will host the Big West championships in two weeks with this weekend providing a preview of the host site. Melanise Chapman had a pair of top-10 placings on Sunday, facing tough headwinds to finish seventh in the 100 (12.01) before posting a wind-aided time of 24.28 for eighth in the 200.

UCD senior Ugo Eke was third in the 400 (54.62), while both the 4×100 (46.87) and 4×400 (3:49.73) relays also took third.

Chidinma Onyewuenyi, who set a school record in the shot put last week, was second on Sunday with a mark of 47-9. Freshman Maurice Spikes Jr. was second in the high jump, clearing 6-6.75, best on the team this season.

The Aggie men had eight other top-10 placings at Irvine, including a 2-3 finish by Thomas Phillips (51.16) and Alex Wilright (51.32) in the 400 hurdles, and a 5-6 placing by Ray Green (48-1.75) and Igor Seriba (47-10.50, wind-aided) in the triple jump.

The UCD men’s 4×400 relay squad had a second-place performance, crossing in 3:12.99.

At Stanford, the local women also got strong performances from Alycia Cridebring (4:28.97) and Kristina Taylor (4:30.01) in the 1,500 and Krista Drechsler (16:55.18) in the 5,000.

On Saturday, Emily Bush had a career-best mark in the pole vault for the Aggies, while Brock Bennett posted his second consecutive personal-best height in the javelin at the Asics/Steve Scott Invitational at UC Irvine.

Bush helped highlight the afternoon, tying for third with teammate Lauren Radke in the pole vault at 12 feet, 3.50 inches. The mark is a nearly four-inch improvement for Bush and bumps her up a spot to a tie for fifth on the UCD’s all-time chart. Only six Aggies have ever eclipsed 12 feet in the careers.

Bennett, who broke the 200-foot barrier for the first time during last week’s meet at Cal, did it again on Saturday, finishing fourth at 204-00, almost fourth feet further than his mark of 200-02 a week ago. He moved to fifth all-time in school history.

UCD had a combined eight top-10 placings in Saturday’s meet. In addition to Bush and Radke’s pole vault performance, Chidinma Onyewuenyi had a strong effort in the hammer throw, taking fourth at 191-11. Hannah Royall was 10th (166-05).

Robert Neely was the Aggies’ top finisher in the long jump, posting a wind-aided effort of 24-3.50, while teammate Ray Green tied for fourth at 23-0.0. Justin Kirkland had a top-10 effort in the javelin, finishing ninth at 175-1.

The full UCD team will be together when it travels back to Irvine for the Big West event beginning May 13.

Enterprise staff

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