The Cal State Northridge men and women’s track and field program continues to put a stranglehold on the Big West Conference.
In May’s Big West Track and Field Conference Championships, the Matador men captured their second straight title and fourth in six years, while the women captured their fifth consecutive hardware.
“There is no way you can win without team spirit,” said pole vaulter Anthony Orozco, who felt was a big reason why they continue to win championships. “We work as one because four or five people cannot win it.”
The competition was nothing short of exciting as it came down to the wire on the women’s side. The women scored 193 points, enough to outlast UC Santa Barbara’s 188 points.
The Northridge women set the standard early after sophomore Precious Watkins won the 100-meters with a time of 11.91 seconds.
That set the stage for the relay finals, which Northridge won in a sweeping manner. They took the 4×100 relay with a time of 45.35 seconds and the 4×400 relay with 3:41.52.
Junior Desirae Gonder contributed greatly to the team championship. She scored over 20 individual points, not including the sweep of the relay events.
On the men’s side, senior Derek Cooper excelled in field events winning the shot put and discus throw.
Senior Robert Robinson had one of the best performances at the championships by winning the decathlon with 7,526 points, which broke the school record. This score qualified him to the NCAA Championships this June.
Junior Reindell Cole, Gonder, Robinson and nine other Matadors also qualified to the NCAA Championships.
Gonder’s part earned her the Big West Women’s Field Athlete of the Year award. Also, senior Lance Gonzales took home the men’s title.
Don Strametz, head coach of both the women and men’s teams, also took home a couple titles including the Men’s Coach of the Year and the Women’s Coach of the Year awards.
Despite all the individual accolades, athletes and coaches cannot stress enough the fact that it’s the team effort that really counts.
“Everybody came together,” Strametz said. “A lot of people did a lot of great things, giving up a lot and being unselfish. No one individual can win it and no one individual can lose it.”