Various members of the University of Redlands track & field teams competed in one of the final meets of the regular season by making the short trip to Eagle Rock for the Occidental Invitational on Saturday. Amidst a high-caliber field of competitors, the Bulldogs impressed with numerous top-10 finishes, career-best times, and nationally ranked performances.
For the women, senior Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) won the Shot Put with her heave of 43' 9", while senior Justine Keller (Portland, OR) uncorked a career-best time of 2:15.95 in the 800 Meters. In addition, senior Vanessa Blanchard (Palmdale, CA) cleared a height of 5' 4 ¼" in the High Jump for third place, as senior Mandy Widen (Vail, AZ) and sophomore Gabriella Gould (Bellingham, WA) tied for third in the Pole Vault with a mark of 11' 7 ¾". Finally, first-year Katie Gonzalez (San Gabriel, CA) put up solid results in the Discus Throw with a fifth-place toss of 115' 1" and in the Hammer Throw with a sixth-place mark of 133' 10".
For the men, the 4x100 Relay of first-year Domanick Murray (Palm Springs, CA), first-year MJ Wheeler (St. Louis, MO), junior Luke Bohlinger (Mercer Island, WA), and sophomore Maliq Champion (Beaumont, CA) joined forces for a third-place time of 41.20, which also places the quartet third in NCAA Division III. Junior Joseph Esparza (Arcata, CA) also improved his status in the national rankings by unleashing a time of 9:16.42 in the 3000 Steeplechase to rank 18th for a career-best performance. In addition, first-year Tucker Cargile (Denver, CO) fired off the best time of his young career in the 800 by crossing the finish line in 1:52.71 for ninth place at the meet and 27th in the nation. Finally, junior Nick Burchett (Gold River, CA) added to the success of the day by moving up on the D3 performance list to 34th in the 400 Hurdles with a time of 54.19, which landed him sixth at the meet.
The Bulldogs look forward to hosting the Redlands Final Qualifier on Ashel Cunningham Track on Wednesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 17.