Courtesy of UCR Athletics
Courtesy of UCR Athletics

Rain or shine, there are no days off for the UC Riverside indoor track and field team. This past weekend, Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28, a few of the Highlanders participated in the University of Washington Invitational. After a snowy meet last week in Arizona, the Highlanders focused on distance rather than weight this weekend. It is only the second invitational of the season which means there is still a long way to go.

The invitational started off on Friday, where sophomore Arman Irani took 29th overall in the finals of the men’s 5000 meter run with a time of 15:07.18. Irani was the only participant from UC Riverside on Friday, but senior Carlos Lopez, junior Weslie Totten and sophomore Emily Sanchez patiently waited to run on Saturday morning. Track events started on Saturday at 9 a.m. sharp with two different events for Lopez, Totten and Sanchez. During the men’s 800 meter run, Lopez placed 26th out of 43 participants with a time of 1:54.62. Then, in the women’s 3000 meter run, Totten finished with a time of 10:03.28, placing 54th overall. While, Sanchez, who participated in the same event placed 64th with a time of 10:14.68, was not far behind Totten. The Highlanders’ distance runners finished off the invitational but will be returning to Washington in a short two weeks.

Although, Head Coach Nate Browne did not attend the invitational this past weekend  he was able to comment about the season and the team overall. “It’s going to be fun, we have a young team but we have some veterans sprinkled in as well, with a full three meet schedule, (NAU, UW and New Mexico) and we also have the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) championships.” The MPSF, is the indoor track and field championship, which Browne said is something to look forward to. When asked whether there are certain athletes we should keep an eye out for, he was able to provide a long list of names.

“Across the team, Breana Jemison, went to indoor nationals last year and she’s looking really good again and we expect her to qualify as well. Newcomer Gabrielle Eshiet is doing a great job with the weight throw. Carl Nahigan, in the shot put and weight throw is certainly off to a good start. On our jump side, redshirt sophomore is Ricky Wright. Jr. who had a great start and is jumping really well already, pretty close to where he finished last season. Justin Parker, long sprinter had a great first meet. We have a lot of young sprinters and we’re waiting to see what happens during the weekends.” Overall, Browne says that he hopes that this season will bring some intensity and create a springboard for the outdoor season.

The Highlanders will be heading back to NAU in Flagstaff for the Mountain T’s Invitational. The meet will start on Friday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. and will continue into Saturday. Then, the indoor track and field team will return to Washington on Friday, Feb. 10, for the UW Husky Classic