Record-breaking Gators look to take on Nationals

SF State Gators' senior Atiya Harvey practices at Cox Stadium on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Harvey wins first place in 100m and 200m dash during the CCAA championship, which takes place on May 4-6, in Chico, Calif. (Kin Lee/ Xpress)

SF State’s track and field team will send a record nine athletes to compete at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Championships beginning May 25 in Bradenton, Florida.

This accomplishment comes on the heels of the Gators’ record-breaking season, which continued this past weekend at the CCAA Championships where the Gator women finished second with a school record of 153 points.

This year’s group of women will be the largest number of athletes the program has sent to the year-end championships since current head coach Kendra Reimer took over in 2014.

“Before I took over, I think we only had about two girls going a year, (but) this year is the highest we have ever been ranked nationally so I think this is a unique opport

unity for us,” Reimer said. “We have both relays, one girl in the 100, two in the 200, one in the 400 plus shot put and discus. We have a very diverse group and I think that says a lot about our program as a whole.”

Along with the team’s collective win, the 12 Gator women earned All CCAA Honors and Reimer was named CCAA Coach of the Year, feats she hopes will fuel the fire for nationals.

“We had a great meet this weekend,” Reimer said. “Our women did really well under pressure and we hit a lot of personal bests this past weekend — they’ve been using these meets to really prepare themselves (for nationals).”

Athletes such as sophomore Devanique Brown contributed to the Gators’ success, finishing eighth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.01 earning points that put SF State over the top this weekend. Although she isn’t traveling to nationals this season, Brown says her teammates have worked hard all season long to showcase their talents and break more records.

Kin Lee

SF State Gators’ sophomore Courtney Massengale practices at Cox Stadium on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Massengale takes second place in discus and third place in shot put during the CCAA championship, which takes place on May 4-6, in Chico, Calif. (Kin Lee/ Xpress)

“Nationals is a time to leave everything on empty, to have our girls go to nationals is just icing on the cake for the team as a whole,” Brown said. “I have full confidence in my teammates that are going, each meet they are breaking school records, personal records and sometimes even meet records and they aren’t done just yet.”

Sophomore Courtney Massengale was one of the athletes named for CCAA All-Conference this past weekend and will be competing in discus at nationals this season. Massengale took second place at the CCAA Championships in discus with a distance of 50.65 and third place in shot put with a distance of 13.52, as well as seventh place in pin hammer and fourth in javelin.

“The beginning of the season was rough because I had surgery on my foot, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to throw this year so I was a little surprised that I was able to do this well,” Massengale said. “None of the team went to nationals last year and the fact that there are quite a few of us going this year just means that all of the hard (work) that has been put in by our coaches and us has paid off.”

Senior sprinter Atiya Harvey automatically qualified for nationals, the only athlete from the team to do so this season, after recording a first place time of 23.56 in the 200-meter dash, an SF State school record. Harvey also took first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.64.

“When I crossed the line and realized I made it, it did not register at first,” Harvey said. “But once I looked at my time on the board it hit me that I did it — all the hard work has brought me here and it can only continue to bring me forward in future endeavors which I am already thankful for.”

Before traveling to nationals, the athletes will have one final meet for the 2017 season at the University of San Francisco on Saturday.

“This is another opportunity to keep them fresh but I feel like we are ready to go,” Reimer said. “This weekend is more about recovering from conference and getting ready for nationals.”

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