Travis Smith sets new record at 2013 Sun Angel Classic

Courtesy of The Press-Enterprise
Courtesy of The Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside’s track and field team headed to Arizona on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 for the 2013 Sun Angel Classic at Tempe, performing well in both the shot put and hammer throw events.

Before the event, the Highlander caught up with Associate Head Coach Nate Browne to ask him about the competition. “It’s going to be a high level competitive meet and one of our kids can elevate themselves to great performances,” said Browne.

The Highlanders went up against big time universities like BYU, Iowa State and Northern Arizona. UCR competed at a high level in the men’s hammer throw event, finishing with three top-ten performers. Uchenna Oniah led the team, finishing third in the event with a score of 55.13m, a full eight feet longer than his previous high throw.

Chima Ikeme and Carl Nahigian also finished in the top ten, landing ninth and tenth respectively. Ikeme broke his career high with 44.63m, while Nahigian finished at 43.18m.

Junior Seth Totten also performed well on Friday, running to a fifth place finish in the men’s 5000m race. He finished with a time of 14:41.95. Jzsanette Lindstrom posted a 12th place finish on the women’s side of the 5000m race, posting a time of 17:48.29.

Freshman Carl Nahigian was asked about how he thought his team would perform on the weekend. “Throughout the year, so far, we have had many athletes rise to the occasion in big moments and I know we’ll have some more this weekend,” said Nahigian.

While Oniah capitalized on Nahigian’s prediction on Friday, day two would belong to Travis Smith and the shot put group.

Smith broke his own shot put record at UCR, solidifying his star season at the Classic. Smith collected a first place throw of 18.80 meters in the premiere section and also finished sixth in the discus premiere section, giving arguably the top performance for the Highlanders.

Nahigian himself performed well at the meet, as he finished first in his individual section with 16.62 meters in shot put.

For women’s events, familiar Highlanders Demajeria Dubose, Raquel Hefflin and Alisha Brown all posted season-best times in the 800m race. In the premiere section Dubose finished fourth with a time of 2:06.22 and Hefflin finished ninth with a time of 2:08.03. In the regular section Brown finished second with a time 2:07.86. Amber Wright also ran a second place time of 55.34 during the 400m race.

“My favorite part of competing in big events like this is competing against the best in the country. I know for me and my teammates competing against good competition really brings out the best in us,” said Nahigan.

The track and field team will compete at the Pomona Pitzer Invitational in Claremont on April 13 and 14.

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