Track season reached its conclusion for many athletes at the 2006 Occidental invitational meet, which exhibited some of the best track and field athletes from across Southern California and the Los Angeles Area.
Seven competitors from the University of La Verne participated in the meet that featured nearly 40 events in total.
Junior Veronica Andrews nearly captured first place in the javelin throw as her distance was 41.58 meters.
Only 11 other athletes competed in the event with Andrews taking the runner up position over the third place participant by over three meters.
“It was really exciting and fun experience to be competing in this meet,” Andrews said. “I am looking forward to seeing some of the top people that competed in this meet, compete in Nationals as well.”
Andrews’ success has led her to conclude a strong season of showings at several meets including several first place finishes and winning the
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title for the second year in a row.
In the women’s pole vault, junior Chelsea Sherier and sophomore Katrina McCoy both placed in the event for the Leopards.
Sherier ended the event tied for fifth place with four other competitors from UC San Diego, Biola and Cal State San Marcos.
“Since this was my last meet, I was hoping to get an automatic bid to Nationals through my performance in the pole vault,” Sherier said.
As for McCoy, she also tied with five other athletes for 13th place in the event.
Both pole vaulters are ending exceptional seasons in particular Sherier, who set a meet record and NCAA mark of 11-9 in SCIAC championships back on April 25.
“If I make it to Nationals, I think I’ll be able to peak and it will bring out the best in me when I compete,” Sherier said.
Newcomer Brianna Gonzales continued to show signs of good things to come in the future as she competed in two jumping events.
Gonzales jumped for mark of 4.98 meters in the long jump while in the triple jump she finished with a mark of 10.11 meters.
The Whittier native placed 11th in both the long jump and triple jump at the conclusion of both events.
The final female competitor for the Leopards was senior Deonne McLean in the 400 meter dash.
McLean entered the invitational with aspirations of improving on her disappointing ninth place finish in last week’s Claremont Classic.
She achieved that feat and managed to finish in the top of five of the standings, in fourth place with a time of 59.21 seconds.
McLean ended her season that was marked with several outstanding performances including two second place finishes at the SCIAC championships in the 200 and 400 meter events.
“It felt good competing in the meet,” McLean said. “I have no regrets for the season, no injuries, and I also improved my time in this event.”
The women’s track and field team capped off an exceptional season of play in conference invites and other meets.
In scoring meets, the Leopards placed twice in second place, once in third and won the SCIAC invitational back in March.
The team will continue to build off its momentum from this season with a core of several athletes such as Andrews, Sherier, Gonzales and McCoy all returning next season.
Junior Darnell Gilbert participated in his final meet of the season and remained the only male competitor from the University.
Gilbert entered the event following a third place finish in the Claremont Classic with hopes of improving on the mark.
However, Gilbert finished in 10th place with a time of 10.88 seconds in a field of almost 25 runners.
Still, Gilbert heads to the NCAA championships with great performances throughout the season.
Gilbert earned his first SCIAC title in the 100 meter dash in addition to wins at the conference multi-dual competition and the Oxy seven-way meet.
Along with heading to nationals, Gilbert will be returning for his senior season in hopes of leading the men’s team to a high level of success next year.
Galo Pesantes can be reached at email@example.com.