The UC Riverside track and field team traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona on Friday, Jan. 31 to compete in the Mountain T’s Invitational.
The Highlanders had a strong showing on field events, with junior Natlaie Micthell leading the way, with a 13.68-meter toss in the shot put. Freshman Shiloh Corrales-Nelson also had a successful day, tossing for a total of 15.62 meters in the weight throwing event, good for fourth place. In addition, Corrales-Nelson also had a strong fifth-place performance in the shot-put event, throwing for 13.07 meters in her second collegiate appearance. Sophomore Purnima Gunarathna came into the event with high hopes, having won the high jump event a few weeks prior in the Lumberjack Team Challenge. Gunarathna saw another successful day, placing fourth this time around, leaping in at 1.60 meters, as well as taking on the 60-meter hurdles and placing 10th in the preliminaries.
Over on the men’s side of the field events, UCR had two Highlanders place in the top eight, with junior Ondrej Rapp winning the event, jumping for 7.09 meters. Rapp had his dual-threat ability on display, as he took on the 800 meter event and placed eighth in a crowded field of competition. UCR freshman Cameron Lewis also impressed at the event, logging a 6.50-meter performance in the long jump, placing seventh. Lewis continued his success in the triple jump, hopping 13.57 meters, good to place fourth. Sophomore Brian Noli finished second place in the same triple jump event, coming in at 13.92 meters.
Sophomore Tanner Anderson led the charge for the short-distance runners, winning the 800 meter with a time of 1:54.56. Senior Kennedy Jackson also had a solid performance in her primary event, placing ninth in the 200 meter dash and leading a crowded pack of fellow speedsters: junior Maya Cook, sophomore Delaney Harris, sophomore Alonna Johnson and senior Callie Lawson-Freeman all finished in the top half of the event.
Lawson-Freeman also competed in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 9.66 seconds, placing her in 11th place. Coming off an ankle injury in the team’s last visit to NAU in the Lumberjack challenge, Lawson-Freeman was energized to get back into action: “It was really exciting today, to break the ice and run my first ever 60 hurdle race,” said Lawson-Freeman. The star athlete says her performance is an encouraging sign, “I have the confidence to get after it more aggressively during my next race.”
The rest of the team certainly shares her confidence after an overall great performance at the Track Mountain T’s event. That, along with the long distance squad who traveled to Indiana to compete in another indoor competition, marks the beginning of the 2020 indoor season. The Highlanders will look to build on their success as they prepare for their next indoor meet in New Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 13.