LA VERNE, Calif. (Mar. 4, 2017) – A slew of Top-10 marks fell and several more scholar-athletes made successful debuts for Caltech track & field at the first SCIAC Multi-Dual of the season at the University of La Verne on Saturday.
Freshman Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) began what is expected to be an impressive career with Top-10 marks in both her throws, ranking ninth all-time at 83 feet, 9.75 inches (25.55 meters) in the discus and 10th in the shot put (29 feet, 3.75 inches/8.94 meters). Sophomore Muskaan Goyal (Apple Valley, Minn. / Eastview) had the meet of her life to move up on the hammer list, placing eighth in program history with a 2.5-meter improvement at 60 feet, five inches (18.42 meters), while also adding more than 1.5 meters in the shot put to reach 28 feet, 10 inches (8.79 meters). Rookie Tim Krasnoperov (Pasadena, Calif. / Polytechnic) and freshman Jena Srikanth (Fresno, Calif. / Clovis North) each made it onto their second Top-10 list in as any collegiate meets as well. Krasnoperov posted three personal bests on four throws in the hammer (122 feet, 7.25 inches/37.37 meters) to rank ninth and Srikanth's smart racing in the 1500-meter run allowed her to blow by an opponent on the final lap and slot into eighth all-time with a 5:11.44.
Sophomore Ben Calvin (Shawnee, Kan. / Shawnee Mission Northwest) claimed one of many other highlights on the day, chopping .77 from just last week in the 110-meter hurdles to cross at 17.57 – more than a second quicker than last year's season-best time – and followed that with a near-four-second drop in the 400m hurdles. Sophomore Michelle Marasigan (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / James B. Conant) shaved two seconds in the 1500m to finish just outside of the new Top-10 thanks to Srikanth, while classmate Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) made her individual track & field debut with a solid effort in the 5000m.
"Muskaan's and Ben's margins of improvement this weekend were pretty incredible and beyond what we could typically expect in a season, much less one week," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "We're excited for them and I think it is indicative of the hard work this entire group is putting in."
Senior Lucy Chen (Boonton Township, N.J. / Mountain Lakes) showed how much further along she is in her final season compared to her 2016 breakthrough, clearing more than 30 feet in the triple jump almost a month earlier than last year, then heading directly to the 100-meter dash and finishing a mere .03 shy of her PR.
"For Lucy to run a near career-best in the 100m moments after finishing the triple jump was exciting," Raphelson said.
The Beavers' distance group also posted a series of encouraging performances as they continue to focus more on pacing and strategy at this stage of the season. Freshman Gianmarco Terrones (McLean, Va. / The Potomac School) clocked a 4:21.05 1500m, followed closely by sophomore Joey Hong (Milpitas, Calif. / King's Acad.), who rode an aggressive start as he ran with the leaders for the first 400m to a four-second PR at 4:27.37. Rookie Tommy Alford (Dublin, Ohio / Dublin Coffman) joined the action with a smart, tactical 2:01.90 in the 800m to place fourth overall, with classmate Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) storming down the stretch for a career-best 2:04.45 despite limited training leading into the meet. Sophomore Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) and freshman Nikhil Poole (Arcadia, Calif. / Flintridge Prep) mixed it up in an impressive 5000m, trading the lead en route to finishing third and fourth, respectively, at 16:04.97 and 16:06.10. Other improvements came from junior Chris Haack (New York, N.Y. / The Browning School) with a two-second drop in the 800m and the 4x100 relay, which demonstrated smooth handoffs in its first iteration this spring to clock a 46.35 – just .02 off last year's SCIAC Championships time, which was the Beavers' fastest since 2013.
"I was pleased with our performance in the middle distance races," Raphelson said "Everyone ran competitive races, mixing it up with their SCIAC counterparts. We didn't necessarily come in with the goal of running career-bests, so those were a nice bonus."
Raphelson and the Beavers have a slightly quicker turnaround than usual with the Occidental Distance Carnival/Sprints Festival on Friday, Mar. 10.