Day One in the Books for TF at NCAA West Preliminaries

Nicole Clark throwing a javelin
Nicole Clark. Credit Kirby Lee.

FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton track and field began competition at Sacramento State University on Thursday at day one of the NCAA Division I West Preliminaries. The Titans were represented in four events on Thursday and performed well but it wasn't enough for any of the student-athletes to advance to the next round. Competition resumes on Friday at 12 p.m. PT where four more athletes will compete for CSF.

The top 48 individuals and 24 relay teams qualified for the preliminaries and only the top 12 individuals and eight relay teams advance to Eugene.

Samantha Huerta was 25th in the first round of the women's 800-meter race, missing the quarterfinals by one spot as the top 24 advance. She clocked a time of 2:08.91 to take fifth place in her heat. The Big West Champion in the event had an outstanding season, setting school records in the 800 meters, 1500 meters and  mile.

"She had been sick after the Big West Championships," head coach John Elders said. "I thought she had bounced back well in training but you never know until you're in a racing situation. She just didn't quite have enough down the stretch of the race. But I'm proud of her and this is a very good step for her. It's a great experience and I think she can legitimately compete for a spot to go to the finals next year."

Nicole Clark had a toss of 153-4 (46.74m) in the women's javelin competition. She fouled her first two attempts but had a strong third toss to sit in fifth place at the conclusion of flight two. She ended up in 19th overall and will not advance to Eugene. Clark enrolled in Cal State Fullerton in January and an exceptional debut season at CSF. She won the Big West Championship in the event and set the school record with a toss of 156-9 (47.77m).

"She competed really well," Elders said. "She's a tough competitor and even going into her final throw with two fouls, she had one of her best throws of the season which says a lot about her. She came in ranked 27th and finished 19th so that's impressive. She's disappointed, obviously, but she had a great season."

Iesha Hamm cleared 5-7 (1.70m) in the women's high jump competition to tie for 29th place and did not advance to Eugene. The freshman had a strong start to her collegiate career as she took fourth at the Big West Championships and set a school record of 5-10 (1.78m) earlier in the season.

"Her second attempt was a good one, she had the height but she clipped the bar with her calf it looked like," Elders said. "But, at the end of the day she has to turn this into motivation. She has long and bright future ahead of her and this is only the beginning."

Rasaun House took 28th place in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 10.47 (+2.0 wind) while Thaddeus Smith was 33rd at 10.50 (+1.4 wind). Neither of the student-athletes advanced to the quarterfinal round. Smith was the Big West Champion in the event with a time of 10.46 while House took fourth place as a freshman. Smith still has the 200-meter race on Friday at 7:30 p.m. PT while both athletes will also run the 4x100-meter relay on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.

"Rasaun ran his second-best time of the year which is impressive," Elders said. "They both ran well but just didn't have that last burst in the last 20 meters of the race. I think Thaddeus has a real chance to make the quarters in the 200 meters and they both have the relay so these two aren't done yet."

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