With hard work, dedication, and skill, the University of Redlands men's and women's track & field teams produced remarkable marks throughout the 2018 indoor and outdoor seasons for an unforgettable campaign. In a highly competitive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), the men and women each finished second in the final standings and went a combined 15-1 in the multi-dual season. Not only were they recognized as one of the best in the SCIAC, the Bulldogs also earned national acknowledgement with 10 All-America awards, 14 All-Academic honors, and much more. Amidst the rearrangement of several school records, Redlands also sent 11 student-athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Division III Championships for an unforgettable showing. Overall, the Maroon and Gray men topped the national rankings at 15th, while the women came in at 17th.
The Bulldogs kicked off the indoor season in exciting fashion at the Mountain T Invitational and Multis at Northern Arizona University. The Maroon and Gray had plenty of solid performances that ranked amongst the NCAA Division III's best, starting with sophomore Jessica Fields' (Las Vegas, NV) second- place showing in the 60 Hurdles with a time of 8.89, which landed her fourth in country. Sophomore Chyenne Kimble (Big Bear Lake, CA) went on to win the Pentathlon with a grand total of 3,013 points. She ran a first-place time of 2:37.21 in the 800 Meters while also leaping to a first-place mark of 16' 6 1/2" in the Long Jump. Later that day, senior Mandy Widen set the tone for her final season by clearing a winning height of 12' ½" in the Pole Vault to rank sixth in Division III. Classmate Vanessa Blanchard (Palmdale, CA) picked up where she left off during the previous season in the High Jump with a second-place mark of 5' 5".
For the men, sophomore Mykel Campos (Dinuba, CA) recorded a solid mark in the Triple Jump with a distance of 43' 2 ¼" to place second at the meet. Senior Afari La-Anyane (Morgan Hill, CA) completed the Heptathlon with 4,299 points, which included a pair of first-place finishes in the 1000 Meters (3:16.31) and High Jump (5' 10 ¾"). The squad ended the opening meet with great momentum, as the 4x400 Relay of junior John Pease (Fallbrook, CA), first-year Marvin Perkins Jr. (Las Vegas, NV), first-year Domanick Murray (Palm Springs, CA), and sophomore Jordan Washecheck (Tulsa, OK) darted to a second-place time of 3:26.14.
The Bulldogs were busy during the following weekend, as some returned to Flagstaff for the NAU Tune-Up Meet while others competed at the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers Meet. At NAU, the women showed immediate improvement from the previous week, with Fields shaving off time in the 60 Hurdles to register an 8.87 for fourth place. After shuffling the 4x400 Relay, the Bulldog men looked to junior Nick Burchett (Gold River, CA), first-year Tucker Cargile (Denver, CO), Murray, and Washecheck to knock off almost two seconds from the previous foursome's time to run 3:24.36 for second place.
At Pomona-Pitzer, senior Justine Keller (Portland, OR) elevated her career-best in the 400 Meters by crossing the finish line in 1:00.11 for second place. For the men, sophomore Maliq Champion (Beaumont, CA) eclipsed a second-place height of 6' 4 ¾" in the High Jump, while Campos followed suit by topping his career-best in the Triple Jump with a distance of 44' 3 ½" to place fourth. First-year Cal Martin (Dayton, WA) threw for 163' 10" in the Javelin, which was good for fifth place.
Two weeks later, the Bulldogs returned home to the friendly confines of Ashel Cunningham Track to compete in the first of three SCIAC multi-dual meets. With this one officially hosted by Caltech at Redlands, the Maroon and Gray men and women captured dominating wins over Whittier College and Cal Lutheran University by prevailing in 24 out of a possible 38 events. Throughout the many highlights of the opening SCIAC meet, first-year Hannah Albrecht (Cottage Grove, OR) registered winning times in the 200 Meters (25.95) and 400 Meters (59.42) while also helping the 4x400 Relay to a first-place time of 4:06.62. She joined forces with senior Kaylee Jorgensen (Claremont, CA), Keller, and Kimble to create this formidable quartet. Also with a dominant performance, the 4x100 Relay of junior Kara Romani (Sacramento, CA), Kimble, senior Sophie Brooks (Seattle, WA), and first-year Andrea Lyon (San Ramon, CA) put together a triumphant effort by stopping the clock at 49.08. Kimble went on to prevail in the Triple Jump, where she earned a career-best mark of 36' 2 ¼". In addition, Blanchard won the High Jump (5' 5 ¼") and Widen excelled in the Pole Vault (11' 5 ¼").
The men saw the same type of results, with Burchett winning the 400 Hurdles with a time of 56.11 while also contributing to the first-place relays. He combined efforts with first-year Anthony Razo (Pomona, CA), first-year MJ Wheeler (St. Louis, MO), and junior Luke Bohlinger (Mercer Island, WA) for a blistering time of 42.52 in the 4x100. Finally, he contributed to the 4x400 Relay of Cargile, Murray, and Washecheck that fired off the fastest time of 3:24.70. The Bulldogs' success continued as Bohlinger not only won the 100 Meters in 10.71 but also crossed the line in a career-best time of 21.86 in the 200. Junior Matthew Hayashi (Hacienda Heights, CA) led the field in three throwing events, including a heave of 45' ¼" in the Shot Put. He went on to win the Discus Throw (128' 8") and Hammer Throw (142' 2") in an impressive outing. In addition, Martin topped the competition in the Javelin Throw with a toss of 152', while senior Wyatt Pannabecker (Choteau, MT) recorded first-place distances of 21' 0" and 46' 0" in the Long Jump and Triple Jump, respectively.
During the subsequent weekend, Fields flew to Birmingham, Alabama, to represent Redlands at the NCAA Indoor Division III Championships in the 60 Hurdles for the first time in her young career. Despite claiming a second-place spot in her heat, her time of 8.95 put her in a tie for eighth overall. After breaking the tie by extending the time out to the 1000th of a second, Fields was on the outside looking in and missed the qualifying mark by just .005.
The outdoor season continued for members of the squad that headed to the Oxy Distance Carnival Spring Break Classic in Eagle Rock on March 10. Junior Joseph Esparza (Arcata, CA) emerged as the third-fastest in the nation in the 3000 Steeplechase with an impressive time of 9:35.88. Cargile provided Division III's best time of the young season in the 800 Meters by completing the race in 1:54.43. The women shook up the nation's top-performance list as well, with sophomore Maria Ramirez (Orange, CA) turning in the fifth-best time of 37:23.88 in the 10,000 Meters.
In mid-march, the Bulldogs hosted the annual Redlands Invitational in a remarkable meet that attracted the largest number of competitors in the event's history. As a team, the Maroon and Gray saw a variety of success amongst the electric atmosphere in Ted Runner Stadium. Blanchard won the High Jump by clearing a height of 5' 3 ¾", which placed her atop all of Division III. In addition, senior Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) uncorked the nation's best distance in the Shot Put with a heave of 43' ½". On the track, Ramirez conquered the 3000 Meters with a first-place time of 10:36.72, as Keller grabbed second in the 800 with a time of 2:19.65. For the men, Champion out-leaped the competition in the High Jump with a height of 6' 2 3/4", which landed him second in the nation. The Bulldogs kept it rolling when Esparza won the 5000 Meters with a solid time of 15:36.16, while Cargile pulled out a third-place finish in the 1500 (3:59.76). Cargile's mark ranked sixth among Division III at that point in the season. Furthermore, Wheeler clocked in at 10.93 in the 100 Meters to rank fourth in Division III. He then went on to combine efforts with Bohlinger, Burchett, and Razo in the 4x100 Relay that fired off the second-fastest time in the nation, as the quartet completed the lap in 42.26.
The team transitioned back into SCIAC multi-dual action when it traveled to the University of La Verne to take on the Leopards, Occidental College, and Chapman University. Both the men and women recorded impressive results with a 3-0 sweep to remain undefeated in conference. The Bulldogs got to work quickly with Pannabecker's career-best mark in the Triple Jump at 47' 7 ¾" to rank first in Division III. Martin continued the Bulldogs' field success with a first-place toss of 158' 2" in the Javelin Throw. The Maroon and Gray took control of both relays with winning times of 42.09 (4x100) and 3:19.34 (4x400). Bohlinger and Wheeler, contributors to both winning foursomes, also finished 1-2 in the 100 and 200 Meters. Bohlinger won both events with times of 10.82 (100) and 21.89 (200), while Wheeler followed close behind with marks of 10.97 (100) and 22.15 (200).
The women saw success in the relays as well by winning both events in times of 48.49 (4x100) and 4:01.71 (4x400). The single-lap quartet's time ranked sixth in the nation, while the 4x400 effort landed 13th. Kimble also dominated the 200 Meters with a career-best mark of 25.53 before winning the Triple Jump with a distance of 36' 10 ¼", which was a career-best performance at the time. In the distance events, Ramirez finished atop the podium in the 5000 Meters with a time of 18:39.72, while junior Ellie Ramsey (Waterbury, VT) sped to a winning effort in the 3000 Steeplechase in 12:19.95.
A week later, select member of the Redlands squad made the trek back to Arizona for the Jim Click Shoot-Out Multis in Tucson. The trio of Kimble, Romani, and Albrecht competed in the Heptathlon with solid results. Kimble moved up to second all-time in Redlands history with a total of 4,487 points to take 11th at the high-caliber meet. Romani finished with a score of 4,243, while Albrecht tallied 4,083 points.
Furthermore, additional members of the team competed at the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Invite and put together strong performances. Keller was in the books for a career-best time of 2:17.89 in the 800 Meters to break into the Redlands Top-10 List. Ramirez also topped her career-best mark but in the 5000 with a time of 17:36.8. For the men, Cargile placed fourth in the 800 Meters with a 1:53.97 mark, which was a career-best and put him 10th in the nation. Junior Kyle Yano (Lake Forest, CA) also ran the fastest 3000 Steeplechase of his career by clocking in at 10:18.39.
The following weekend, the Bulldogs geared up for the conference championships by competing in the final SCIAC multi-dual meet of the season against Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, and Caltech. With 10 first-place marks on the day, the men swept the competition, while the women went 2-1 with victories over Pomona-Pitzer and Caltech. Bohlinger remained in top form with two more wins in the 200 (21.49) and 100 (10.80). Cargile upped the ante in the 800 Meters with another season-best time of 1:52.75, which was good for eighth in the nation. First-year Andrew Clark (Palm Springs, CA) and Washecheck each won their respective events, as Clark completed the 110 Hurdles in 15.73 and Washecheck prevailed in the 400 with a time of 48.94. Once again, the Redlands relays led the competition with stellar marks. After the 4x100 team darted to a first-place mark of 42.09 early in the meet, the Bulldogs' fate against CMS came down to the final event on the track, the 4x400 Relay. With an undefeated multi-dual season on the line, the Maroon and Gray looked to Burchett, Cargile, Washecheck, and Perkins to successfully stop the clock in 3:19.01 to finish first at the meet, rank 11th in the nation, and secure Redlands' exciting win.
The women won seven events on the afternoon, as highlighted by Fields' school-record-breaking effort in the 400 Hurdles with a winning time of 62.63, which also elevated her to seventh in the country. She also finished on top in the 100 Hurdles with a time of 14.83. In addition, Widen broke a school record when she cleared a first-place height of 12' 4" in the Pole Vault. While continuing her impressive season, Ta'amu reached a distance of 44' 7 ½"in the Shot Put to put her at fifth in the nation.
The Bulldogs capitalized on the success they had during the multi-dual season and parlayed it into outstanding performances at the SCIAC Championships on their very own Ashel Cunningham Track in Ted Runner Stadium. During the two-day competition, the Maroon and Gray saw 25 student-athletes advance to the final heats on Saturday. Both of Redlands' teams sat in second after the first day of action and provided consistent results through day two, with the men earning 161.50 points and the women snagging 162, for each to remain in second.
Fields once again shined with a pair of championship wins in the 100 Hurdles and 400 Hurdles. Her 14.07 time in the shorter race proved to be the best in NCAA Division III while her 62.06 mark in the 400 Hurdles landed her 10th in the nation. As expected, Blanchard claimed her third-consecutive conference title in the High Jump with a leap of 5' 3 ¾". Additionally, Albrecht took home a third-place medal in the 400 Meters with a time of 58.90, while joining Kimble, Romani, and Brooks for a third-place showing in the 4x100 Relay with a time of 48.00. In addition, Albrecht, Kimble, Fields, and Keller orchestrated a second-place time of 4:01.28 in the 4x400 Relay.
The men registered nine first-place finishes, beginning with Bohlinger's titles in the 100 (10.51) and 200 Meters (21.08). His times moved him to second in all of Division III as well. He also assisted in a first-place effort from the 4x100 Relay of Burchett, Champion, and Murray, which locked down the second-fastest time in the nation at 41.47. Redlands proceeded to take the 4x400 Relay (3:18.45) title with the talented squad of Burchett, Washecheck, Cargile, and Perkins. Three members of the 4x400 enjoyed individual success as well, with Burchett taking home the gold in the 400 Hurdles (54.34), Washecheck crossing the line first in the 400 Meters (48.70), and Cargile winning the 800 Meters (1:52.97). La-Anyane added to the excitement by winning the 110 Hurdles with a time of 14.91, as Pannabecker and Campos combined for a 1-2 punch in the Triple Jump with respective marks of 47' 9 ¾" and 46' 10 ¼".
After tasting success at the SCIAC Championships, various student-athletes continued to shine with strong marks at the Claremont Classic and Oxy Invitational before hosting the Redlands Final Qualifier Meet in mid-May. Among the amazing highlights, Ta'amu upped the ante on her school record in the Shot Put by unleashing a winning mark of 49' 8 ½", which moved her to second in the nation. Blanchard rose in the rankings as well by clearing a first-place height of 5' 6 ½" in the High Jump for eighth in Division III. Kimble not only improved her 100 Hurdles time to 14.41, she uncorked a school-record-tying time in the 100 Meters at 12.10. Cargile moved up the national list in the 800 Meters with a time of 1:51.44, while Burchett fired off his season-best time in the 400 Hurdles at 53.47.
After the final meet results from the regular season were submitted, the NCAA announced that 11 Bulldogs were headed to Wisconsin for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. This good news was followed by the announcement of 31 All-Region selections, which topped the number of indoor honorees by 12. In addition, the Bulldogs gained 25 All-Conference nods, as highlighted by Cargile's SCIAC Newcomer of the Year award.
Once at the NCAA Championships in Wisconsin, the Bulldogs capped off an already impressive year by bringing home 10 All-American honors for multiple top-eight finishes. The 4x100 Relay of Murray, Wheeler, Bohlinger, and Champion outdid their season-best with a time of 40.971 to finish sixth overall for All-America honors. The mark puts them third all-time in Redlands history. Bohlinger also embraced the big-stage opportunity by placing fifth in the 100 (10.90) and third in the 200 (21.39) for additional hardware. Pannabecker eclipsed his career-best in the Triple Jump with a giant leap of 48' 6", which was good for eighth after entering the championships as the 20th seed. Fields achieved All-America status with a fifth-place time of 14.28 in the 100 Hurdles, while Ta'amu capped off her senior season in fourth place at her second national appearance with a toss of 47' 3" in the Shot Put. Blanchard repeated as an All-American in the High Jump off a tied-for-sixth-place effort of 5' 6".
Upon conclusion of the season, the Maroon and Gray received 14 All-Academic awards for stellar achievements in the classroom and in competition at the national level.
With amazing marks, impressive times, and plenty of hard work, the Bulldog track & field teams completed the 2017-18 year of competition on an incredibly high note for Redlands. Among the many new Bulldog standards, awards, and success stories, the program boasts plenty to celebrate and much to motivate for future expectations.