FULLERTON, Calif. --- Head coach John Elders has captained the Cal State Fullerton Track and Field program for 29 years, and on Saturday the longest-tenured coach in Titan history captured his first Big West championship as the men's team totaled a program-best 133 points en route to the victory.
"This is just unbelievable," Elders said. "We knew that we had a very competitive team…I am just filled with emotions about everyone that has been involved with the program over the years, all the student-athletes back to 1988 when I started coaching, and back to 1984 when I was a student-athlete."
Senior Darion Zimmeran defended his Big West Conference title in the 400 meters, clocking a personal best time of 46.86 to win his second-straight crown in the event, while teammate Marcel Espinoza also set a new PR and placed fifth with a time of 48.24.
Zimmerman won his second title of the day in the 200 meters in a time of 21.13, just edging out teammate Thaddeus Smith who placed second in 21.14. Zimmerman's win is the first for Fullerton since his coach, Marques Barosso, took the title in 2006. Mason Rollins placed fourth in the 200 in a time of 21.67.
"Early in the day we were back in fifth or sixth place, and then after the 200 meters we were all of a sudden in the lead," Elders said. "It just happened really fast. I think having it at home is always an advantage. Kids just seem to compete a little bit harder on their home track."
Zimmerman, a three-time champion on the day, was also part of two relays as he anchored the championship 4x100 meter relay team that defended its 2016 title in a time of 40.18. Luis Matos, Smith and Rollins also ran a leg in the race.
Zimmerman also anchored the 4x400 meter relay team that placed second in a time of 3:11.42 and clinched the championship-winning eight points with teammates Espinoza, Kasey Cory and Smith.
Diego Courbis also claimed a title for Cal State Fullerton in the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 52.30, the first win in the event for Cal State Fullerton since Roberto Archibold in 2008.
Rollins placed second in the 100 meters for the Titans in a time of 10.64, while Matos finished fourth in a time of 10.66.
With a time of 1:51.64, senior Shelby Hernandez, Jr., placed second in the 800 meters,
The Cal State Fullerton women placed sixth with a point total of 63.20, the most for the program since 2010.
Laura Hamann's mark of 41'3.75" in the triple jump clinched the title for junior and was the first title for the Titans in the event since Anna Doty in 2001.
Bryn Williamson broke her own school record in the pole vault with a mark of 13'6.25", winning the first title for the Titans in the event since Jennifer Clarke.
The team of Morgan Love, Zuri Henderson, Fanny Giron and Kiana Clay placed third in the 4x400 meter relay in a time of 3:42.22.
Clay, a freshman, clocked her fastest time this season, 53.88, to place second in the 400 meters.
The NCAA West Region Championships begin Thursday, May 25 in Austin, Texas.
There are 329 NCAA member institutions that sponsor Division I Women's Track and Field teams and 278 NCAA member institutions that sponsor Division I Men's Track & Field teams and are eligible to compete in the National Championship. All of the Division I programs support over 24,000 Track and Field student-athletes across the country.
For each individual event contested at each of the Preliminary Round sites, the top 48 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition. For each relay event, the top 24 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition
The individual event student-athletes and relay teams accepted into Preliminary Round competition will be announced and posted on NCAA.com the week prior to Preliminary Round competition.
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