May 7, 2011
IRVINE, Calif. - Senior Sherrina Lofton earned the title as the Big West's top all-around athlete as the senior earned 5,371 points to claim her second conference heptathlon championship in the last three seasons Saturday at UC Irvine.
Fellow senior Desirae Gonder finished third and junior Alisa Jenkins was fifth as the Matador women earned 20 points in the opening event as they attempt to win their sixth consecutive conference crown.
Lofton, who tallied a season-high 5,371 points, held off Long Beach State's Phylicia Johnson to win by 255 points as she repeated her championship performance from 2009. Gonder scored 5,109 points, including 833 in the final event (800 meters) to slip past UCSB's Maureen Ajoku by a single point and finish third. Jenkins scored 4,931 points to take fifth in her first heptathlon competition.
Freshmen Olympia Jewett and Jordan DuFault also competed in their first heptathlon at the conference championships and finished 11th and 12th respectively. Jewett scored 2,488 points while DuFault earned 4,196 points.
"It was a great start for us," said associate head coach Avery Anderson. "I'm extremely proud of the way our ladies performed. We fought to the end because every point counted for the team as evidenced by the eight points that separated places two through four.
"To fight for two days and score over 5,000 points to have it come down to just a few points says how great this competition was," added Anderson.
Lofton, who carried a 101-point lead over Ajoku into Saturday's competition, finished second in the high jump the first event of the day. Lofton jumped a best of 18-8 (5.69) to earn 756 point going into the javelin. In the penultimate event of the competition, she finished third tossing the javelin 113-6 (34.61) to pick up 564 points. Then in the final event, the 800 meters, Lofton ran 2:22.31 to take fourth adding 792 points to her final total of 5,371.
Gonder, a two-time Big West Heptathlon runner-up, finished third coming up just seven points short of second-place Johnson. She earned 709 points with a fourth-place finish in the long jump with a best of 18-1 (5.53). Gonder next took eighth in the javelin with a best throw of 93-0 (28.34) to pick up an additional 445 points to set up the dramatic 800 meter finish. She finished second in a season-best 2:19.32 and needed every second to earn 833 event points to overtake Ajoku for third place and six crucial points.
Jenkins was equally impressive in her first-ever heptathlon competition. The junior from Citrus Heights, Calif., scored 1,951 points on Saturday giving her 4,931 points in the event and four huge team points for CSUN. Jenkins was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 17-8 (5.39) to earn 668 points. She then won the javelin with a top throw of 118-11 (36.25) to add 596 points to her total before finishing seventh in the 800 meters with a time of 2:30.45 which gave her 687 points.
"Our girls fought like the great Matadors they are to help keep up on course as we move into next weekend," said Anderson.
Jewett and DuFault both finished strong as DuFault was fourth in the javelin throwing a season-best 112-0 (34.14) to earn 555 points. She was also 10th in the long jump with a season-best of 16-8 (5.09) and 11th in the 800 meters (2:38.43). Jewett was seventh in the long jump with a best of 17-1 (5.22), seventh in the javelin with a mark of 99-10 (30.42) and 12th in the 800 meters (2:38.56).
BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS
Final Heptathlon Results
() - Team Points
1. Sherrina Lofton, Northridge - 5,371 points (10)
2. Phylicia Johnson, Long Beach State - 5,116 (8)
3. Desirae Gonder, Northridge - 5,109 (6)
4. Maureen Ajoku, UC Santa Barbara - 5,108 (5)
5. Alisa Jenkins, Northridge - 4,931 (4)
6. Turqoise Williams, Cal Poly - 4,779 (3)
7. Kristen Kiefer, Long Beach State - 4,775 (2)
8. Emily Kressin, Cal Poly - 4,666 (1)
9. Jazmine Lewis - UC Riverside - 4,614
10. Sara Macey, Long Beach State - 4,494
11. Olympia Jewett - Northridge - 4,488
12. Jordan DuFault - Northridge - 4,196
- GO MATADORS -