Cal State Fullerton track and field takes first Big West Championship

In Sports
Image via @FullertonTFXC Twitter account

The water John Elders’ team dumped on him after he led Cal State Fullerton track and field to its first Big West Championship ever wouldn’t leave a mark, but the team’s title would.

“This is just unbelievable,” Elders told Cal State Fullerton Sports Media. “I am just filled with emotions about everyone that has been involved with the program over the years, all the student-athletes back to 1988 when I started coaching, and back to 1984 when I was a student-athlete.”

Throughout his 29-year tenure at CSUF, Elders promised his student-athletes that he’d get a tattoo of the Fullerton “F” on his ankle if the team ever won the Big West. It’s a promise he’ll finally have to keep after the Titans racked up 133 points—a new record for the program—while winning the Big West Championship at home.

“We all remember him promising that, so I’m sure we’ll remind him and make sure he gets it,” junior triple jump champion Laura Hamann told the Daily Titan.

In part making Elders’ ink possible was senior Darion Zimmerman, who won his second straight Big West title in the 400 meters with a new personal best time of 46.86 before winning the 200 meters with a time of 21.13 in a photo finish with fellow Titan Thaddeus Smith, who finished in 21.14 seconds.

Zimmerman wasn’t done, helping the Titans take the 4-x-100 relay for the second year in a row before anchoring the 4-x-400 meter relay team alongside Smith, Kasey Cory and Marcel Espinoza. That group’s second-place finish gave the Titans the eight points they needed to clinch the title, as well as an unexpected shower and tattoo for their head coach.

Additional aid for CSUF’s title bid came from Diego Courbis, who finished first in the 400-meter hurdles, as well as second-place finishes from Mason Rollins (100-meter dash) and Shelby Hernandez Jr. (800 meters).

The women’s side failed to win the title (finishing sixth), but also had several standout performances. Freshman Kiana Clay set a new personal best in the 400 meters (53.88) to finish second in the event. Redshirt junior Bryn Williamson won the pole vault with a score of 13’6, setting a new school record in the process.

Hamann clinched the title in the triple jump for the Titans for the first time since 2001 with a mark of 41’3.75”.

“I honestly was in complete shock, it was surreal. I was so happy I had cleared 40 inches in prelims so when I jumped over 41 my last jump, I was overjoyed,” Hamann said.

The individual student-athletes and relay teams invited to the preliminary rounds for a chance to compete for an NCAA National Championship berth will be announced this week.

Bryant Freese contributed to this report.

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