Coming off of a strong fourth-place team finish at the Aggie Open, the Dons continued their stretch of successful meets and earned third place at the Johnny Mathis Invitational from March 21-22 in San Francisco, Calif.
On Saturday, March 22, multiple runners flourished in the track events. Senior Gustavo Mena outlasted the competition on his way to first place in the 800-meter (0.5 mile) race. Mena’s time of 1:54.19 was just ahead of his teammate, sophomore Jarrett Moore, who dashed to a second place finish and a time of 1:54.67.
Moore was active all day, finishing in seventh place in the 1,500-meter (0.93 mile) run and completing the course in 3:58.52. Despite his impressive time, Moore was bested by his fellow Dons junior Jose Madera, who came in second and finished in 3:54.24. Senior Adam Smith and freshman Patrick Kunkel also finished in the top 15 in a race that included 32 contestants. Elsewhere, in the 400-meter (0.25 mile) dash, junior Sean Gomes took third place after speeding across the finish line with a time of 51.77.
In the triple jump event, junior Nile Norwood snatched third place with a 13.84-meter jump, but the Dons’ most notable result from the field events undoubtedly took place a day earlier.
Friday, March 21 looked like a relatively quiet day for the Dons on paper, but it ended with a shattered record and a first place USF finish.
Redshirt sophomore Robert Parker set a new USF record in the javelin competition, recording a 59.20-meter throw that not only beat the previous USF mark that he set himself, but also helped him win the event with ease. Parker’s top throw was over 14 feet (4.27 meters) more than the next closest opponent. The strong-armed record-holder was backed by a solid throw from his teammate, freshman Katoa Ahau, who registered a 51.06-meter toss.
Like men’s track and field, the women were looking to improve upon a fourth-place finish at the Aggie Open a week earlier, and were able to do so, coming in third overall out of nine teams participating.
Robert Parker was not the only Don to beat his own school record at the Johnny Mathis Invitational. Eleni Fkiaras accomplished that same feat in the 400-meter hurdles race, posting a time of 1:04.67, eclipsing her previous high by 2.49 seconds and finishing a close second in the event.
Sophomore Elena Burkard also put forth a remarkable effort, finishing first out of 55 total runners in the 1,500-meter race. Considering that this was her first meet of the season, Burkard’s time of 4:27.32 was all the more impressive. Also excelling in the 1500-meter course was senior Maor Tiyouri, who was the next Don to finish and ended the race in sixth place.
Saturday was a busy but rewarding day for redshirt junior Kamilah Davis, who ran in the 100-meter (.06 mile) dash as well as the 200-meter (.12 mile), and finished third in both events. Davis ended the races with times of 12.27 and 25.14, respectively.
In the field, junior Laticia Lonon performed well for USF, coming in second out of seven throwers in the discus event. Overall, head coach Helen Lehman-Winters liked what she saw out of the Dons at the invitational.
“Laticia is starting to get it rolling in the discus,” Lehman-Winters said. “Eleni finally put her hurdle race together and took a huge step forward competitively. Kamilah looked great today.”
Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will be busy this weekend, with each participating in two meets. Some athletes will be sent to compete in the Stanford Invitational from Friday, April 4 to Saturday, April 5, and others will remain in the city for the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, which takes place on the same dates.