Track team eyes top place finish in conference championships

For Michelle Chung, sophomore discus and hammer thrower, things got a little strange at practice last week when she forgot how to throw.

“I took a week off because something got a little weird…I don’t know what happened. I kept throwing it over the fence where it’s not supposed to go,” she said. “I’m trying to be calm because I always psych myself out, especially if it’s something this important…I always mess up at important meets.”

She said she is trying to keep her mind off of this slight roadblock to keep doing what she does best. This week her and the rest of the Gators track and field team will focus on some much needed time for themselves, as they set their sights on the upcoming CCAA conference championships in La Jolla, Calif. May 1 – 3.

Junior Hilary King said she has just recently gotten very nervous also as the end of the season draws near.

“Little things make me nervous, when (I thought) ‘Ah, it’s happening’,” King said. “It feels like yesterday we went to Boise in January…it went by really fast, but it is exciting.”

King pays close attention to her body for any signs of strain and will keep perfecting her event performance.

“It’s more about taking care of yourself this week and a lot of rehab if anything little hurts,” King said. “Practice isn’t going to be too tough…it’s more about techniques and skills.”

And for head coach Tom Lyons, he said he has shrugged off the Gators’ less than impressive performance in rainy Berkeley this past weekend at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational as he looks ahead to conference champs in a few short days.

“You never know what’s going to happen with the other teams and your athletes,” Lyons said. “We have to make sure we’re prepared as (best) we can be.”

Last year, SF State placed fifth, but this year, Lyons said he hopes to compete with Pomona and Stanislaus for a top three finish.

There will be 17 gators representing SF State, and Lyons said he expects several to be in the final events.

“As the season has gone along it has been getting more and more exciting about how well we can do,” Lyons said.

For the women, there will be a total of nine teams involved, and the top three placers in each event will be named to the All-Conference team.

And for NCAA Division II National Championships at the end of this month, Maya Cabiness in the 400 hurdle and Hilary King in the long jump are making their way up the list, so Lyons said it is promising that there will be a few Gators in Nationals as well.

“We are trying to make sure everyone is healthy and can get to the starting line rested and feeling good,” Lyons added. “The main thing now is not getting too excited about it but to make sure (they’re) prepared.”

For sophomore Ashley Black who is competing in the heptathlon, she said she can only trust her hard work that she has put into the season so far. The Gators have already done all the grueling physical work that was possible over the past few months, so now all that remains is one final mental preparation.

“I know what I can do, and the thought of having one last meet to do it all is what drives me,” Black said. “To get it all on the field and leave it there with no regrets.”