Track & field sprints into 2016 with high hopes

The Kingsmen track & field team returns to the track this spring with a lot of experience, returning 21 runners from last season.

“We have a few really good returners with Trevor Wood and Mike Bassette. We also have many others that will be key to this year’s success and how far this men’s team can go,” track and field Head Coach Matthew Lea said.

Wood earned his second consecutive All-Conference  honor last year after winning the 110M hurdle with a time of 15.09. Competing alongside Wood in the hurdle events will be 2014 All-Conference selection Tyler Erickson and senior Ed Garrett.

Bassette is back in action after qualifying for the NCAA championships in shot put. Bassette won his second straight shot put title in 2015 with a throw of 16.44m, which ranks third in California Lutheran University history. After qualifying for the NCAA championships last season, Bassette looks to do the same in 2016.

Joining the team from cross-country are a group of nine returners who will be competing in the distance events, one of them being senior Ryan Perez. Perez currently ranks second in Cal Lutheran history in the 3,000M, with a time of 8:54.38.

“My goal this season is to break the school record in the 3,000M and I want to get a personal record in the 800M and 1500M,” Perez said.

Perez will be competing for his final time at Cal Lutheran, and said he hopes that he can go out on a high note.

“I’m excited to just compete one last time. It’s emotional, I’ve been doing this sport for six or seven years now so I’m just excited to have one last season at it. I want to go out with a bang,” Perez said.

Looking to bounce back after a fourth place finish last season, the Regals are in a quest to reclaim their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title from 2014.

“We definitely have the talent if we can stay healthy to compete with anyone at any time in our conference,” Lea said.

Even with a makeup of 13 newcomers and 13 returners, the team is still very young, having only seven upperclassmen.

“We are a super young team. We have primarily freshman and being a sophomore, I’m one of the oldest on the team,” distance captain Sarah Girgis said. “I’m excited for the younger girls to perform at the level we know they can and I’m excited for our camaraderie to grow and become even closer as a team.”

Two of the upperclassmen returners looking to lead the Regals are seniors Allie Hadley and Amanda Hamilton. Hadley returns as last year’s United States Track and Field and CrossCountry Coaches Association West Region Field Athlete of the Year after setting a new SCIAC and Cal Lutheran javelin record while earning her third consecutive SCIAC title in the event.

Hamilton is coming off of her second SCIAC title in the triple jump, where she bested her own Cal Lutheran record last season. Along with a SCIAC title, Hamilton also earned All-SCIAC honors in the 4×400 relay. The other All-SCIAC members from the relay team include Carlie Burow and Anna Schlosser, both sophomores who specialize in hurdles and sprints respectively.

Sophomore sprinter Teigan Schentrup will also look to make impact in her second season after qualifying for the 100M finals at the SCIAC Championships as a freshman. Along with qualifying for the 100M finals, Schentrup made four Cal Lutheran top 10 lists in her events.

Rounding out the sophomore class are Hannah Yoho, Katie Young and Girgis who will be running the distance events with junior Lauren Chrislu and five newcomers to the team.

Girgis said she hopes this season the team can get back to their winning ways.

“My goal for the team is to compete better than we did last year,” Girgis said. “We had been SCIAC champions two years ago and after we ended up being fourth in our league last season, we need to bring back that spirit of being a winner.”

Coral Hasley
Staff Writer
Published February 10th, 2016