Aug 25, 2019

Track and field head south for Cal-Nevadas

Juan Villa / Collegian File Photo

In preparation for the Cal-Nevada Championships, Fresno State track and field coach Scott Winsor had to address the “C” word to his team while in practice.

“Our kids are going to see some good competition – probably competition that they haven’t seen yet,” Winsor said. “But that’s what we need.”

The Cal-Nevada Championships is one of the marquee meets for the Fresno State track and field team every year. This year, the Bulldogs have to travel to UCLA to compete against some of the top track programs in the state of California and Nevada.

The trip to Los Angeles will mark a first in the Cal-Nevada meet. The Championships will be held on the UCLA campus. Scott Winsor will also experience his first trip to UCLA.

“I’ve never competed at UCLA,” Winsor said. “I competed at Mount Sac every year for 20 years, but never at UCLA.”

Winsor still believes that being in Los Angeles will be a benefit for his team as the season progresses.

“I guess it’s a great venue and a beautiful track,” Winsor said. “Its kind of like the old basketball saying ‘the basket is ten feet high.’ The track is 400 meters, that’s what they’ll run on and that’s what we’ll do.”

For Winsor and the Bulldogs’ track and field squad, the competition level will be huge, especially with a couple of Pac-10 teams involved.

“It’s going to be a heck of a meet,” Winsor said. “It is every year.”

Winsor said that the team needed some time to prepare for the Cal-Nevada meet and has been impressed with the overall progression.

“We’ve had a good couple of weeks here,” Winsor said. “Last week was very good for us. Our decathletes had a heck of a day, so we are looking to build on that. The kids know that we need to step it up and get better every week.”

Not only do the Bulldogs need to step it up every week, they also want to win the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title and then send some of their athletes to the NCAA Regional.

“Our minimum goal is to win WAC,” Winsor said. “But above and beyond that, we want to make sure that we are prepared to get to the regional’s and then prepare to get out of regionals and into the NCAAs. This is just another opportunity to show the kids how to do that.”

One key element on the women’s side for the Bulldogs is WAC individual champion Tierra Hilliard, who will be participating in the sprint competition. Hilliard is familiar with some of the competition in the Cal-Nevada meet.

“We saw a few teams last week,” Hilliard said. “There’s like 30 schools, so there’s going to be good competition everywhere.”

Hilliard is content with being a conference individual champion, but she is looking to have more results during the Cal-Nevada meet and beyond.

“It felt really good to win the WAC and I’m going to go out and try to do it again in the 200 and 400 this year,” Hilliard said.

On the men’s side, senior jumper Erik Fossen wants to use the Cal-Nevada meet to reach the NCAA regional. He is competing in the high, long and triple jump.

“I’m hoping to get one regional qualifying mark, hopefully all three,” Fossen said. “For long and triple I’ll go against a couple guys from UCLA and a couple guys from Northridge. There should be some good competition for long jump because I’m in the last flights, so it should be really good competition to push me even further.”

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