(ALAMOSA, Colo) – The Trojan Track and Field teams got their season off to an early start Friday and Saturday at the ASU Early Grizzly Open in Alamosa. Competing against some of the best Division II track and field teams in the country, the Trojans not only held their own, but set some impressive marks.
The men's Distance Medley Relay started the meet off Friday evening in a match race against Adams State. Derek Holdsworth ran the first leg of the relay (1200 meters) and handed off to Riley Allen (400 meters) in first place. Godfrey Chama (800 meters) and Daniel Haymes (1600 meters) finished off the relay of varying distances. The Trojans finished with a time of 10:00.89 in second place to Adams State. Since the meet was held at high elevation, times are converted to what time it would equate to if it had been held at sea level in order to rank the performance. The time will rank the Trojan men number one in the NJCAA currently. Coach Lauren Masterson said of the performance, "I knew our men had the ability to be dangerous in the Distance Medley Relay. Already in early December they've run a time over 6 seconds faster than the fastest time at the end of last year. That's a great start."
In the women's mile, Benadine Chelimo placed third in a time of 5:35.85 and Vanessa Davis was seventh in 6:16.46. Chelimo's time is currently the fastest in the NJCAA so far this year. In the men's mile Daniel Haymes was fourth in a time of 4:14.04, Riley Allen was eleventh in a time of 4:29.26, and Brandon Cardenas was 13th in 4:51.84. Haymes and Allen rank number one and number two respectively in that event in the NJCAA. "I was very pleased with our milers this weekend. Dan competed very well and ran a great race after anchoring us last night in the relay. Riley Allen showed he is going to be a force to be reckoned with on the track over the coming months," commented Masterson.
Godfrey Chama competed in the 400 meters, finishing in a close second place with a time of 48.90. This adds Chama to the list of Trojans who currently have the fastest times in the country in their respective events.
The highlight race of the meet was the matchup of Trinidad's Derek Holdsworth verses NCAA DII Runner Up in the 800 meters last year, William Mayhew of UC-Colorado Springs, and two-time NCAA DII National Qualifier Tom Gifford of Adams State. These runners competed in the 800 meters in which Derek Holdsworth made a late charge in the last 150 meters to take the victory and set a new facility record, previously held by multiple-time All-American and sub-4-minute miler Matt Daniels of Adams State. His altitude converted time of 1:49.23 is not only the fastest time in the NJCAA this year, but is also the second fastest time in all collegiate athletics so far this season. This time is also a new Trinidad State record; the previous record being held by two-time NJCAA National Champion, Elias Gedyon.
"Derek definitely was the athlete of the meet this weekend. He ran a strong relay leg for us Friday night, and then came back Saturday to not only beat some elite competition, but also set a new Trinidad State and High Altitude Training Center record," praised Coach Masterson. "We got off to a great start and have already solidified some qualifiers to the national meet in March. I'm excited about where we are headed this season. I expect big things from our student-athletes on the track."