While thousands of UCR students bade adieu to the university at the start of summer break, several track and field athletes tightened their spikes and welcomed a final stretch of championship events. The consistent trio of Ryan Swafford, Ted Hooper and Damajeria Dubose headed to the NCAA National Championships from June 4-8 with hopes of dashing records as well as winning titles.

Hooper kick-started the event for the Highlanders in the men’s long jump. The Big West champ posted a top mark of 7.60 meters, a sizable drop off from his West Preliminary jump of 7.79 m, but still good enough for 13th place in the championships. Next, teammate Dubose participated in the arduous 1500-meter run, which saw a number of runners get tangled up with 500 meters left. The senior wound up finishing in 20th place with a respectable time of 4:24.60.

Lastly, Swafford, who was the two-time defending Big West champion in triple jump, presented UCR with its best chance for a national championship as the senior exhibited his best form entering the tournament. A clearance of 15.72 m was the best Swafford could muster in the event, though, which placed the jumper in 13th place.

Although Riverside couldn’t bring a national title back to the university, each athlete was awarded with All-American Honors for their performances. Swafford and Hooper earned Second-Team Honors while Dubose nabbed an Honorable Mention status. Last year Swafford picked up the same award, which marked the first All-American honor for a member of the UCR men’s track and field team since the university’s transition to the Division I level in 2002.

Following the college National Championships, four members of the track and field team represented UCR at the USA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, which took place from June 19-23. The 2013 Championships served as the selection event for the coveted spots to represent the United States at the IAAF World Championships from Aug. 10-18 in Moscow, Russia.

Freshman Carl Nahigian (USA Jr Qualifier, shot put), Phoenisha Schuhmeier (USA Jr Qualifier, long jump), senior Swafford (USA Championships, triple jump) and Hooper (USA Championships, long jump) all competed in the event held at Drake Stadium. Nahigian, seeded 11th out of 14 athletes, finished in seventh place in shot put while Swafford ended his UCR career with the 11th-best triple jump at the event. Schuhmeier nabbed a 14th-place finish with a 5.27 m clearance in the long jump. Hooper, The Highlander’s 2013 Athlete of the Year, concluded his strong junior campaign with a 13th-place finish in the long jump to end the UC Riverside 2013 track and field season.