Track and field excels at Big Sky

Marshall Hampson

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The Sacramento State women’s track and field team won its third consecutive Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championship May 15 at Weber State University, with sophomore Moira Robinson winning four of the seven individual titles.

The women finished with 145 points and outscored second-place Northern Arizona University by 36 points, winning seven of the 21 events. The Sac State women became the third team in conference history to win three consecutive outdoor team titles, and the first since Northern Arizona in 2004-06.

The Sac State men finished in third place with 130 points, trailing first-place Weber State and second-place Northern Arizona.

Earlier in the year, the women took home the 2010 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championship.

Kathleen Raske, director of track and field and cross-country, said the outdoor championship adds to the prestige of the track program.”It shows the strength of our team and the depth of our team,” Raske said. “We’ve got a very talented group of ladies in a lot of events. We were really, really happy to win our third consecutive outdoor title. But to have an indoor and an outdoor title shows the strength and versatility in our team.”

The most impressive athlete on the women’s side was Robinson. She redshirted last year for personal reasons, but ended up winning four events during the four-day Big Sky Conference this year. It was the first time in school history an athlete has won four events in the meet.

She took the titles in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and 100-meter hurdles.

“She competed with great composure,” Raske said. “She’s capable of winning four events so let’s go for it. Early on, I think she felt like, “Well, there’s one I probably can’t win.’ But it all fell into place for her and she’s obviously a great competitor to pull it off in the championship.”

Robinson won the long jump with a jump of 19 feet, 9 3/4 inches, the triple jump with 41 feet, 2 1/2 inches, the high jump with 5 feet, 8 inches and the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.78 seconds. Robinson said her goal for the season was to break 14 seconds in the hurdles.

“That was just a surprise because when I looked up at the board and saw 13-something, I really didn’t know what was going on,” Robinson said. “The hurdles is like my timid race because I haven’t been really doing it for very long.”

Like Robinson, other members of the women’s team won individual titles on the second day of the meet. Senior Lizzy Norvell set the Big Sky Championship meet record in the pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 2 3/4 inches and junior Ify Agwuenu threw the shot put 49 feet, 10 1/2 inches to win her individual title.

Raske said on the second day, the Sac State women took over the meet.

“We had a little bit of a rough start on day one, but we knew day two would be our big day,” Raske said. “Our best events were on day two. We were hoping for a big day and we did it.”

In addition to the six titles won earlier in the day, junior Renisha Robinson won her title in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:09.17. Robinson also won the 800 at the indoor championships earlier in March.

The team also had some standouts on the men’s side.

Junior Ronald Brookins earned three individual titles of his own in the long jump, 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash. In the long jump, Brookins jumped 24 feet, 7 1/4 inches, ran the 110-meter hurdles in 13.84 seconds and ran the 100-meter dash in 10.64 seconds.

Even though he came away with three titles, Brookins said he did not expect to win three of the four events in which he competed.

“I feel very blessed to win three events,” Brookins said. “I was expecting to win two. In the 100, I expected to get top-three, but not win. It was just amazing that I won.”

Brookins earned his first conference title in the 100-meter dash by a hundredth of a second to beat Weber State’s Chris Stuckman.

Raske said it was amazing to coach and watch Brookins compete at a high level in the championship meet.

“It was very exciting to have Ronald Brookins win three events and help us out in the 4 x 100 meter relay as well,” Raske said. “Just an incredible performance and it was his first Big Sky title in the 100 meters. I was most impressed with that performance actually.”

Two other men produced individual titles at the meet. Junior Emilio Hernandez finished first in the high jump with a jump of 6 feet, 11 inches, which is sixth-best in school history.

Marshall Hampson can be reached at sports@statehornet.com