2019 Summary: Redlands Track & Field Elevates Expectations with National Acclaim on Multiple Levels

2019 Summary: Redlands Track & Field Elevates Expectations with National Acclaim on Multiple Levels

With a total of 15 national qualifiers between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the University of Redlands track & field teams enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in recent years. In addition, the Bulldogs earned a total of 46 All-Region awards in an outstanding display of skill and determination by various student-athletes. In addition, graduate student Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) won the National Championship in the Shot Put, which put an incredible stamp on the Maroon and Gray's campaign and her illustrious career.

The Bulldogs kicked off the indoor season with their annual trip to Flagstaff, Arizona, in February for the Mountain T Invitational. Among multiple strong finishes from the men, senior Luke Bohlinger (Mercer Island, WA) registered a second-place time of 22.08 in the 200 Meters and took third in the 60 Meters in 7.03. Junior Tyler Lufkin (Yucaipa, CA) won the 1000 Meters with a time of 2:52.25 en route to a second-place showing in the Heptathlon with 4,193 points.  On the women's side, Ta'amu shined by winning the Shot Put with a dominant mark of 50' 11". In their collegiate debuts, first-years Annick Bangou (Redlands, CA) and Courtney O'Neal (Atlanta, GA) combined for a one-two finish in the 60 Meters with times of 7.89 and 7.94, respectively.

A week later, select members of the squad returned to Flagstaff for a high-caliber experience at the NAU Tune-Up Meet. Sophomore Tucker Cargile (Denver, CO) made his season debut in the Mile with a time of 4:22.33 for third place. The top finish for the women came in the 60 Hurdles, as junior Chyenne Kimble (Big Bear Lake, CA) stopped the clock in third place with a time of 9.02.

A day later, the Bulldogs impressed with multiple career-best efforts at the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers. For the men, sophomore MJ Wheeler (St. Louis, MO) uncorked the best leap of his career in the Long Jump with a winning distance of 22' 4 ½". In the Javelin Throw, graduate student Nate Battisti (Seattle, WA) increased his career mark with a fourth-place toss of 158' 5". Senior Matthew Hayashi (Hacienda Heights, CA) also bettered his previous career-standard in the Discus Throw on a 138' 6" heave for fourth place.  Representing the women, senior Maria Ramirez (Orange, CA) unleashed a career-best time of 10:32.90 in the 3000 Meters, while sophomore Hannah Albrecht (Cottage Grove, OR) tallied the fastest time of her career in the 100 Hurdles at 16.16.

The Bulldogs wrapped up with the month of February at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier, with Cargile uncorking a career-best effort of 1:53.79 in the 800 Meters and topping the competition in the Mile with a time of 4:13.48. As the only women's competitor for the Bulldogs, Ramirez notched a career-best time of 10:21.02 in the 3000 Meters to take fifth among tough competition.

At the beginning of March, the Maroon and Gray took advantage of facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges and Cal Lutheran University at home for the SCIAC Multi-Dual No. 1. Through damp conditions, the Redlands men took first place in 11 total events and edged the Stags, 85-78, and rolled over the Kingsmen, 120-40. The Bulldog women also won 11 races to secure a 100-63 win over the Athenas and a convincing 119-43 victory against the Regals.

On March 8-9, three Bulldogs traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. On the first day, Kimble made her first-ever appearance and took 12th in the 60 Hurdles with a preliminary time of 8.94. She ran just one-tenth of a second off of the final qualifying spot. For the men, Cargile turned in a 17th-place showing in the Mile with a time of 4:18.51 to conclude day one for Redlands. On the final day, Ta'amu shined with a fourth-place performance in the Shot Put.  With a mark of 47' 3 ¾" on her second attempt, she gained All-America honors in her inaugural appearance at the indoor championships.

Meanwhile, several student-athletes remained in Southern California for the Occidental Distance Carnival and Sprint Festival. In a competitive men's field, first-year Jamir Jones (Fairfield, CA) notched a career-best time of 1:57.72 for 10th place in the 800 Meters.  He was followed by sophomore Trevor Brouelette (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) in 23rd with a time of 1:59.61. For the women, Ramirez highlighted the day as the Bulldogs' top finisher with a time of 38:14.36 for fourth place in the 10,000 Meters. In addition, sophomore Desiree Cadena (San Jose, CA) stopped the clock in a career-best time of 4:55.80 in the 1500 Meters for 23rd place.

The Bulldogs kept rolling with impressive results in front of the home crowd in Ted Runner Stadium at the Redlands Invitational. For the men, Bohlinger won the 100 Meters with the fastest Division III time of the season at 10.80. Junior Maliq Champion (Beaumont, CA) was only seven-one-hundredths of a second behind him in third place. Bohlinger went on to register the fastest 200-meter time in the nation with a second-place mark of 21.62. Champion finished second in the High Jump with a height of 6' 6 ¾", which placed him atop the Division III leaderboard and tied his career-best mark. For the women, the talented 4x100 Relay of Albrecht, Kimble, Bangou, and O'Neal delivered a school-record time of 46.74 to surpass the previous standard by 0.64 while also pacing all of Division III by 2.3 seconds. Ta'amu dominated the Shot Put with an impressive heave of 48' ¾", which gave her a five-foot advantage on the rest of the nation. Finally, Fields stopped the clock in 14.92 in the 100 Hurdles for a second-place result at the meet but the fastest time in Division III.

With each team now ranked fourth in the nation, the Maroon and Gray took down Chapman University, Occidental College, and Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the SCIAC Multi-Dual No. 2. Between the men and the women, the Bulldogs registered 17 first-place finishes in an outstanding performance.  Among the highlights, Champion kept his momentum going by unleashing a first-place time of 21.10 in the 200 Meters for the second-fastest time in Bulldog history and a career-best mark. In the 800 Meters, Cargile locked down the second-fastest time in Division III by running a 1:52.86. Wheeler shined in the Long Jump as he not only took first at the meet but moved up to fifth in the nation with a leap of 23' 1 ¾". For the women, Fields and Kimble once again headlined the 100 Hurdles with another 1-2 effort despite a significant headwind. Fields stopped the clock in 14.18, while Kimble crossed the line in 14.19, resulting in the first and second-place marks in the Division III standings. Later in the day, Kimble clocked a 12.21 in the 100 Meters for a first-place finish, which put her ninth in the nation. She also secured the eighth-fastest 200-meter time in the nation as she finished second in 25.29. Fields also found success in the 400 Hurdles with a gold-medal time of 1:03.10, which put her eighth in Division III.

During the following week, Redlands sent individuals to represent the Bulldogs against top-notch competition at the Jim Click Shootout Multis in Tucson, Arizona. With impressive performances throughout the day, Lufkin took second in the Decathlon with a total score of 6,167, which was just 111 points behind the leader. Lufkin topped the competition in the 1500 Meters by unleashing a time of 4:33.61. Kimble represented the women in the Heptathlon with a third-place finish off of 4,608 points for a career-best mark. Kimble shined in the 100 Hurdles with a time of 14.37 and second in the 200 Meters by crossing the line in 25.91.

As the season continued, the Bulldogs sustained their high-caliber performances at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational with even better marks. Headlining the men's success, senior Joseph Esparza (Arcata, CA) won the 3000 Steeplechase in a career-time of 9:16.00, which landed him seventh in Division III. Cargile once again pushed himself to a career-best in the 800 Meters with a time of 1:51.30 for second in the nation. On the women's side, Ramirez finished the 5000 Meters in eighth-place with a time of 17:48.50, which ranked her 24th in Division III. Junior Karli Stichter (Tustin, CA) knocked off nearly 20 seconds from her previous best time in the 5000 Meters to clock in at 19:21.24. In the 3000 Steeplechase, senior Ellie Ramsey (Waterbury, VT) saw a 12-second improvement for a time of 11:32.56 to rank her 21st in the nation.

At the SCIAC Multi-Dual No. 3, the men and the women remained undefeated by sweeping Whittier College, the University of La Verne, and Caltech with stellar contributions throughout the day. The men finished at least first or second in 15 events, while the women did the same in 17 of their 19 events.

After a two-week break from competition, the Bulldogs headed to nearby Claremont for the two-day SCIAC Championships against all eight conference schools. The men captured 114 points to finish in third place, while the women climbed up a spot in the team standings for a second-place showing with 147 points. Between the two teams, the Bulldogs earned 16 All-Conference performances, with the men garnering seven and the women taking nine.

With the highest finish of the first day for the men, Wheeler clinched the Long Jump title with a gold-medal leap of 22' 10" on his second-to-last attempt.  The women earned two second-place performances that day, with Ramsey recording a career-best time of 11:13.40 in the 3000 Steeplechase and junior Katie Gonzalez (San Gabriel, CA) securing a personal-best in the Hammer Throw with a toss of 155' 6". In addition, sophomore Claire Jamison (Louisville, CO) claimed third place in the Pole Vault with a height of 10' 6 ¾". With their top-three finishes, each earned All-SCIAC honors.

On day two, the Maroon and Gray men got out to a blistering start with the 4x100 Relay of Bohlinger, sophomore Cooper Malerstein (Huntington Beach, CA), Wheeler, and sophomore Domanick Murray (Palm Springs, CA) finishing first with the quartet's fastest time of the season at 41.45. Bohlinger went on to defend both of his titles with a 10.62 time in the 100 Meters and a 21.38 showing in the 200 Meters. Securing back-to-back titles in the 800 Meters, Cargile won a tight race in 1:51.60 for another All-Conference outing. In the 400 Hurdles, senior John Pease (Fallbrook, CA) registered the fastest time of his career in 54.01 to take second for an All-Conference nod. The men continued their success in the field events, as Hayashi turned in an All-SCIAC performance in the Discus Throw with a career-mark of 142' 0" on his final attempt. He also received All-Conference honors in the Shot Put with a second-place toss of 48' 1 ¼".

The women began their day with Albrecht, Bangou, Kimble, and O'Neal claiming the 4x100 Relay title in 47.23, which was almost a second faster than the runners-up. Fields and Kimble each repeated their efforts from the previous year in the 100 Hurdles, with Fields defending her title in a career-time of 14.10, as Kimble closely followed in 14.27. Fields also repeated as the 400 Hurdles champion by clocking a time of 1:01.05, which co-led the nation. Kimble also continued her success with a third-place time of 12.37 in the 100 Meters and a second-place time of 25.15 in the 200 Meters. While claiming All-SCIAC honors, Cadena stopped the clock in 2:16.86 in the 800 Meters for a career-best effort. In the field events, Ta'amu successfully defended her Shot Put title on her second attempt with a heave of 48' 0". With the final All-Conference performance of the evening for the Bulldogs, Gonzalez earned a career-best throw of 129' 2" for third place in the Discus Throw.

In mid-May, Lufkin and senior Kara Romani (Sacramento, CA) earned first- and second-place finishes in the Decathlon and Heptathlon, respectively, at the Claremont Classic Multis. 

Shortly after, select Bulldogs looked to make their final push at the Redlands Final Qualifier. For the men, the 4x100 Relay of Murray, Malerstein, Bohlinger, and Champion improved its time to ninth in the nation by crossing the line in 41.00. For the women, Kimble highlighted the evening with the fastest 200-time in Redlands history when she crossed the line in 24.57, which ranked seventh in the nation for the current season. Fields also improved her national ranking in the 100 Hurdles with a career-best mark of 13.97, which put her second in Division III.

Next up, Redlands took the talents of 12 Bulldogs to Geneva, Ohio, for four days at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships. Overall, the teams returned home with one national champion and eight All-America nods in an outstanding performance. 

The men took advantage of day one by advancing the 4x100 Relay of Murray, Malerstein, Champion, and Bohlinger to the final with a preliminary time of 40.97, which was its fastest of the year.  Despite an injured Bohlinger, the quartet put together a time of 42.82 for eighth place in the final to secure All-America honors.  On day two, Cargile registered a solid time of 1:51.95 in the prelims of the 800 Meters. He went on to become an All-American with a fourth-place time of 1:52.84 during the final.

On the women's side, Ta'amu cemented herself as a national champion in the Shot Put for the first time in her career. She began the day by hitting a mark of 48' 6 ¾", which would have been good for third place overall. She followed that up with her championship throw of 49' 7" on her second attempt. As a result, she also became an All-American for the third time in her career. With an impressive effort, Fields made the cut in both of her hurdle events and doubled down on her results for a pair of All-America finishes. She produced the highest national finish of her career with a third-place showing in the 100 Hurdles in 14.01 and snagged a seventh-place time of1:01.42 in the 400 Hurdles.  Kimble finished right outside of the All-America cut in the 100 Hurdles with a ninth-place time of 14.23.  Romani completed her national debut in the Heptathlon with a final tally of 4,488 points for 16th place overall. Her best event came in the Long Jump, where she placed 13th with a 17' 2 ¼" leap.

Outside of competition, the Maroon and Gray also excelled in the classroom with 11 academic awards from the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association, including one for each team.  In addition, Bohlinger became a three-time individual recipient and Romani hauled in her fourth such honor. 

Bohlinger also landed among the best student-athletes in track & field and cross country as a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team.

Finally, Ta'amu's accolades extended all the way to the conference level as one of two SCIAC representatives to be considered for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award. 

The Redlands track & field teams completed the season with All-Americans in five different events, including a national championship, to highlight an incredible level of excellence and achievement.  Overall, the Bulldogs landed among the best in school history in multiple events while setting the standard for a continued upward climb under the direction of Head Coach Mike Schmidt.  Although the senior class leaves a profound void, the Maroon and Gray looks forward to gaining speed from this year's momentum with talent, leadership, and desire.