By JODI ORGIL
The Cal Poly Invitational this weekend in California provided the members of the men’s track team the opportunity to show what they could do, and they literally jumped at the chance.
The team swept the four-way meet with several team members placing well.
Men’s winners included the 400-meter relay team, Jason Bushnell (steeplechase), Fikrae Wondafresh (1500 run), Felix Andam (100), Kyle Grossarth (400 hurdles), Chris Wilson (800 run), Jim Edwards (hammer throw), Jim Roberts (shot put and discuss throw) and Matt McCauley (pole vault).
Weather conditions helped the members compete in top form and put forth their best efforts.
“I loved the weather; I decided like to run at sea level,” freshman member Chris Kemp said. “It is a lot different than training here so high in the mountains.”
“I really liked the track and the weather was great,” Grossarth said. “That helped all of us to do better. The conditions were ideal.”
Everyone had the chance to shine at the meet and improve their skills and times.
Bushnell won the steeplechase after being given the chance to choose between the 1500 and the steeplechase.
“Coach said I could decide and he thought I was crazy when I chose to do the steeplechase,” Bushnell said.
Bushnell started the event following teammate Sam St. Clair, who was more experienced in the steeplechase. Keeping a good pace, suddenly St. Clair hit a hurdle with his leg and had to drop out of the race.
“I got worried because there was no one to follow,” Bushnell said. “I just had to pick up where he left off. I had no idea of what pace to take, so I just ran.”
Bushnell continued to run and caught two guys on the last lap. It was then that he heard his coach, Willard Hirschi, telling him to take the race.
“When I heard him yelling at me to win the race, I decided to. I had to go for it all,” Bushnell said.
His first meet experience in the steeplechase turned out to be a success; Bushnell won the event on his first try.
“It is funny that I won because when I started I decided if I didn’t drown in the water pits or hit any hurdles that I could win,” Bushnell said.
The season is turning into a positive one for members of the team, providing more experience and new opportunities for individuals.
Grossarth and Kemp are both freshmen competing in track and field for their first season of college sports.
“The competition is a lot stiffer. All the people are good, which makes it more fun to compete, but also more challenging,” Grossarth said.
After the efforts this weekend, Kemp was proud of his performance at the meet, only the second away meet of his college career.
“In high school I could cross the finish line and look back to watch everyone else,” Kemp said. “It is a lot different in college.”
“Training all year is totally different,” Grossarth said. “We are pushed more in the work-outs, too.”
Kemp placed well in the 400 with other top performances by Leonard Myles-Mills (100 and 200), Dula Parkinson (1500), Corey Neddo (hammer throw) and Marek Samseli (triple jump).