Sports in Brief
Following three days of competition (April 23-25) at the Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, California, UC Irvine women’s golf took home seventh place with a 54-hole total of 905 in the Big West Championships behind UC Riverside (888) and Cal Poly, the latter of which took the gold with a total of 887.
Senior Kaley In made the most of the final collegiate event of the year, placing sixth — the highest team finish — for her third top 10 finish of the year with a total of 221 (75-72-75) across the three day period.
Sophomore Janet Yeo tied with three other participants at 10th with a score of 224 (73-75-76). Yeo’s finish was also the third time she had cracked the top 10 on the year.
Senior Martina Edberg of Cal State Fullerton topped all competitors with 210 (71-68-71). It was announced last Tuesday that Edberg will be competing in the Albuquerque Regional, a preliminary round of the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Regionals that will run from May 8-10.
Fourth-seeded UC Irvine men’s tennis had their Big West Tournament run come to a sudden end in the hands of top-seeded UC Santa Barbara just a day later at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Junior Luca Marquard and sophomore Mason Hansen fought hard and rallied against the Gauchos’ sophomores Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm at court two, but ended up falling, 6-4. With a 30th-ranked tandem of senior Morgan Mays and junior Simon Freund dropping UCI’s junior Sebastian Heim and sophomore Luis Lopez, 7-5, Santa Barbara secured the doubles point.
Holm got the Gauchos rolling out in the singles with a victory over Hansen (6-2, 6-2), before junior Cody Rakela defeated freshman Bruce Man-Son-Hing (6-1, 6-2) and Freund upended Lopez (6-0, 6-1) to seal the team win.
The loss and elimination came just a day removed of the ‘Eaters’ dominating victory over fifth-seeded Hawai’i in the conference semifinals. On that day, UCI took the doubles point early on, courtesy of a Heim-Lopez win at court one followed by a win from sophomore Vatsal Bajpai and Man-Song-Hing.
UCI then captured three straight singles points with Heim finishing his match at court one first followed by Lopez at three and Bajpai at six.
Eighth-seeded UC Irvine women’s tennis did not fare well against top-seeded Hawai’i in the Big West Tournament quarterfinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as they fell, 4-0, in their elimination matchup with the ‘Bows. The loss marked the final collegiate match for a senior trio of Cassidy Branstine, Hali Dickson, and Alex Harrigan.
Hawai’i junior Marina Hruba and freshman Michelle Pits took down an ‘Eater duo of Branstine and freshman Stephanie Nguyen at the three spot, 6-0, to kick off doubles play. 68th-ranked freshman Petra Melounova and sophomore Roxanne Resma secured the doubles point for the ‘Bows with a win over UCI’s Dickson and junior Vivien Dvali, 6-2.
The ‘Bows came up with the next three singles points as Hruba defeated sophomore Stephanie Hazell (6-1, 6-2) at the two spot, before Resma defeated Branstine (6-2, 6-0) and junior Klara Pribylova sealed Hawai’i’s ticket to the semifinals with a victory over freshman Jacqueline Tsodikova at the six (6-1, 6-3).
A day prior, the ‘Eaters had a strong first-round outing in their dual against ninth-seeded UC Riverside. Junior Ashlynn Hall and Hazell gave UCI an early advantage at the one spot with a hard fought 6-4 victory before Dvali and Dickson definitively awarded UCI the doubles point with a 6-4 victory of their own.
Hall set the tone for the ‘Eaters once more in the singles play with a victory in her match against Highlanders’ freshman Sara Khattab at court five (6-1, 6-4). Shortly after, Tsodikova picked up a win in the sixth spot (6-1, 6-3) before Dvali pulled out above junior Karla Dulay in a long marathon match (6-2, 7-6 (5)) that gave the ‘Eaters the chance to compete against Hawai’i Friday morning.
Track and Field
UC Irvine welcomed over 20 collegiate teams — accounting for over 1,000 athletes — for the 23rd annual adidas/Steve Scott Invitational at the Anteater Stadium this past weekend. With the invitational marking the last home meet for 16 graduating seniors, the ‘Eaters took the opportunity to honor seven athletes — David Aguilar, Nolan Del Valle, Brandon Howard, Izzak Mireles, Antwon Parker, Matt Seawright, and Lloyd Sicard — of the men’s team and nine competitors — Ariel Cheng, Brooke Dorsey, Megan George, Marisa Gonzalez, Crystal Lizaola, Aliya Shah, Courtney Sharar, Melanie Speech, and Saniya Syed — of the women’s team.
On Saturday, the men’s track and field team picked up four event wins, two of which were in the relays. A quartet of senior and freshman talent in Evan Singletary, Sicard, Jordan Gibson, and Howard captured a season-best 40.87 in the 4×100 — which is enough to snag the second place slot in the Big West conference leaderboards. Sicard and Howard got their hands in the 4×400 relay as well, joining sophomores Paul Resong and Isaiah Jewett to emerge with an event best and new conference-leading time of 3:10.79.
Jewett impressively beat out UC Irvine alum and 2016 Olympian Charles Jock in the 800m with a new personal record at 1:48.22. Jewett is currently third in UCI program history behind Steve Scott (1:47.6), whom the meet is named after, and Jock (1:44.67).
Howard blitzed in as the individual champion in the 400m hurdles with a career-best 51.61. His new time places him fifth in the UCI record books and tops the conference in the respective event.
Sicard continued to add to his legacy, registering a lifetime-best 13.55 in the 110-meter hurdles to top all collegiate competitors and was a runner-up to Evo Track Club’s Siddhanth Thingalaya (13.50).
On the very same day, the women’s track and field team saw eight top-five finishes that was headlined by a victory in the 4×400 relays. Sophomore Brandy Coward, George, Lizaola, and junior Simone Buchanan stole the victory in the relay from Colorado State at 3:47.38. George and Jones also joined sophomore Hope Bushnell and junior Persis William Mensah for the 4×100 relay, which they managed to pick up fourth with a 45.82 finish. Individually, Mensah was third in the 100m with 11.51 seconds while George came in fifth overall but second among collegiate runners in the 100m hurdles with a new season-best 13:30 — just a few ticks shy of her program record at 13:28.
Junior Tyra Jones finished third overall in the 400m hurdles with a personal best 61.39 as fellow ‘Eater Lizaola came up with fourth (61.40).
For field events, sophomore Elizabeth Akindele threw a 45-04.75 — her final attempt and best mark of the day — to take second in the shot put. Sophomore Barbara Coward, who holds UCI’s program record in the discus with a 180-08 mark, rung in a third place overall finish — first among collegiate participants — Saturday with a respective 177-02 throw.