IRVINE, Calif. – The UC Irvine women's track & field team dazzled its fans with a handful of top performances in their home-opening UCI Spring Break Collegiate Classic Saturday at Anteater Stadium.
The 'Eaters finished the day with four individual victories.
"I am proud of the many accomplishments of our team today," head coach Jeff Perkins said. "We really competed against the field of athletes within the meet and found some great marks to move forward with."
Senior Crystal Lizaola put on an impressive display in her 800m victory. The Los Angeles native not only bettered her personal record by nearly five seconds, but her time of 2:10.85 also ranks first in the Big West and third in the NCAA this season. It was Lizaola's second event win in as many weeks as she was also the 400m hurdle champion at the Ben Brown Invitational.
UC Irvine went 1-2 in the 100-meter dash with junior Persis William-Mensah (11.70) taking the title and sophomore Hope Bushnell coming in second at a personal-best 11.99. William-Mensah already owns the school record at 11.59, while Bushnell's mark is the 10th-fastest in program history. Bushnell registered another lifetime best in the 200m where she placed third in 24.66 seconds.
Sophomore Barbara Coward remained undefeated in the discus this year with her third-straight victory. Coward, who ranks third in the NCAA, uncorked a throw of 178-09 on her final attempt to win the event by over 15 feet.
Senior Ariel Cheng was the last woman standing in the pole vault, clearing a season-best 12-04 for the first-place finish.
Senior Megan George, who was making her season debut in her signature event, was the runner-up in the 100m hurdles as she clocked in at 13.70 seconds. George is the current school record holder at 13.28. Freshman Iyana Cooksey added a season-best 14.84 to place seventh overall.
The quartet of Bushnell, George, sophomore Brandy Coward and William-Mensah claimed runner-up honors in the 4x100 relay as they combined to run a season-best 45.66.
The Anteaters had two finalists in the shot put and were led by sophomore Elizabeth Akindele's personal-record 46-00.50, which ranks fourth in school history. Akindele's mark put her fifth overall in the meet, while senior Melanie Speech was seventh with a season-best 42-09.50.
UC Irvine returns to action next weekend as it travels to Riverside for the UCR Spring Track Classic, March 24-25.