Gator Track and Field team thrives against Division I competitors

The SF State track and field team battled through injuries and fatigue as they made their presence known in the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at UC Berkeley.

The Gators competed against top-notch Division I schools such as Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Utah State in the two-day event April 22-23 with two athletes placing in the top five in their respective events as they prepare for the California Collegiate Athletic Association championships.

“I’m happy with what we’ve done,” said coach Terry Burke. “I think we’re about as prepared as we can be going into conference.”

In the first outing, freshmen Maya Cabiness and Lauren Hendrick placed sixth and eighth respectively in the 400-meter hurdles among 19 other competitors. Cabiness recorded a season-best time of 1 minute, 3.37 seconds. Hendrick also earned her best time with a time of 1:04.52. Freshman Kayleigh Hendrix recorded an eighth-place finish in the 100-meter relay with a time of 12.72 seconds.

Three Gators competed in the hammer throw, SF State’s only field event on the first day, but failed to crack the top 10. Senior Cassie Freeman earned the highest score on the team with a mark of 151-08 for 14th place.

The next day was the Alicia Chambers show.

Chambers, who only competed in two events in 2010 due to injury, has had her best season as a Gator, improving on her times each week. This didn’t change at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational as she captured first place in her heat with a time of 55.45 seconds. She currently has the fastest time in the CCAA conference and is eighth in the nation after her performance.

“I didn’t expect to get number one,” Chambers said. “I felt pretty prepared. I wanted to come in with 100 percent and ended up coming in with 110 percent. I wanted it really bad.”

There is an adage in track and field that no one is supposed to win out of lane one. Yet Chambers did just that.

The Gators also competed in the 4×400 meter relay in the final day of the contest after scratching the previous day due to injuries to freshman Keenya McDaniel and junior Carrie Thomas.

SF State’s Chambers, Cabiness, sophomore Stefany Butler and freshman Brionne Baucham were the only team that competed against Harvard and fell short with a time of 3:50.27 minutes. Harvard took first at 3:45.17, the school’s fifth-fastest recorded time.

Despite earning her personal record, Baucham claimed she really wasn’t eager to do the event at first.

“I didn’t want to do it because I’m not really good at the 4×400,” Baucham said. “That’s not my event. They forced me, but in the end I’m happy I did it.”

Luisa Musika rebounded from a sub-par hammer throw performance the previous day to get 5th place in the discus throw.

The Gators will move on to the CCAA championships in Tulare, Calif., starting May 5.

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