FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton kicks off the outdoor track and field season with the squad competing in the Riverside City College Invitational on Friday at 1 p.m. PT.
"I am very excited to get the season underway," head coach John Elders said. "We have high expectations for both squads this outdoor season. Our goal is to start a process to prepare to win the Big West Championships for both the men and women. Our mindset for this meet is to start that process. We want to develop positive routines and habits in terms of preparation, mindset and everything that goes into a meet."
As the men begin the quest to win their third straight Big West Conference Championship, Elders and his staff welcome back reigning Big West Freshman of the Year Rasaun House, NCAA All-American Marcel Espinoza, 2017 Big West Champion Diego Courbis, discus school-record holder Corey Gilbert and many others on a strong 2019 team.
On the women's side, the Titans return high jump school-record holder Iesha Hamm, three-time school-record holder and Big West Champion Samantha Huerta (800 meters), Big West Champion Nicole Clark (javelin) and others to an experienced 2019 team. The women earned a fourth-place finish overall last year, tied for the best team finish since 2010.
"Every meet is a way to prepare for championship season so I believe that Friday is important because it starts the process and is the first step," Elders said. That is the purpose of the meet and I think our kids are ready to perform well and start the year off strong."
The Titans will compete against Riverside City College, UC Riverside, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Cal State San Bernardino and San Marcos on Friday.
House clocked times of 10.47 and 21.39 in the 100- and 200-meters last season as he was named Big West Men's Freshman of the Year, the first Titan in program history to garner that accolade. Along with Espinoza, House was a member of the Big West Champion and school-record setting 4x100-meter relay team that clocked a time of 39.86 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. House and Espinoza went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships where they earned NCAA All-America honorable mention plaudits. Espinoza had a strong individual season himself, clocking a personal-best time of 47.20 in the 400 meters and he took fourth place in the event at the Big West Championships.
Courbis battled injury throughout the season but was able to step up for the Titans in the final of the Big West Championships and clock a season-best time of 52.88 in the 400-meter hurdles to take third place. The Spaniard will look to regain his form from 2017 when he won the Big West Title in the event and competed at the NCAA West Preliminaries.
In his first year with the program, Gilbert left his mark as he had school-record toss of 184-0 (56.09m) in the discus, he took third place in the event at the Big West Championships and competed at the NCAA West Preliminaries.
On the women's side, Huerta set three school records last season with times of 2:07.36 (800 meters), 4:25.16 (1,500 meters) and 4:48.02 (mile). She went on to win the Big West title in the 800 meters and took third in the 1,500 meters. Huerta went on to run the 800 meters at the NCAA West Preliminaries. Clark set the school record in the javelin in her first-ever meet in a Titan uniform and then broke it later in the season with a mark of 156-9 (47.77m). She became the first Titan in program history to win a conference championship in the javelin and then went on to compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries. Hamm cleared 5-10 (1.78m) in the high jump to set the school record. She took fourth place at the Big West Championships in the event and represented the Titans at the NCAA West Preliminaries.
With the 2019 season beginning, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders is in his 31st season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton. Cal State Fullerton won the 2017 Big West Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the first conference title in program history, then repeated that feat in 2018 to become back-to-back champions.
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