May 19, 2010

Matadors Take Home Five Big West Track & Field Awards

May 19, 2010

Cal State Northridge track & field continued to reap the awards following its second of back-to-back men's and women's championships. The Matadors picked up five of the eight awards as announced by the Big West Conference on Wednesday, May 19.

On the women's side, junior Desirae Gonder was named Field Athlete of the Year, freshman Tiana Webberley was named Women's Freshman of the Year and Don Strametz was named Women's Co-Coach of the Year. For the men, senior Lance Gonzales was tabbed Men's Field Athlete of the Year and Strametz earned Men's Coach of the Year accolades.

Gonder, a junior from Bakersfield, Calif., becomes just the second Northridge woman to win Big West Field Athlete of the Year honors and first since La'Shana Verdon in 2006. Gonder scored 34 points by herself as Matador women won their fifth straight Big West title. Gonder inished second in the heptathlon with a lifetime-best 5,512 points, put up a third place finish in the high jump with a season-best effort of 5-10.75 (1.80) and was also third in the long jump at 19-05.25 (5.92). In addition to her performance in the field events, she also ran the 200 meters, 100 meter hurdles and was part of the conference champion 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Webberley, a freshman from Palmdale, Calif., made it four Northridge freshman in the last six years to take home Women's Freshman of the Year honors. Webberley won the pole vault clearing a height of 12-4.75 (3.78). She was the only vaulter to surpass 12 feet during the competition and won the title at her first Big West Championship meet. She joins Julie Eze (2005), Jere Summers (2006) and Precious Watkins (2009) as Northridge's Freshman of the Year.

Gonzales, a senior from Murrieta, Calif., also completed an impressive all-around competion for the Matador men who won their second straight title and third in the last four years. Gonzales was third in the decathlon (6,995 pts.), won the high jump with a lifetime-best 6-10.25 (2.09), was second in the javelin at 204-9 (59.22) and seventh in the long jump at 23-1.75 (7.05). He single-handedly accounted for 29 of Northridge's 173 points at the Championships. Among the league's top marks, Gonzales is in the top 10 in the javelin, high jump, triple jump, long jump and decathlon.

Strametz added to his impressive list of accomplishments earning Coach of the Year honors for the seventh time on the women's side and fifth time for the men. In leading the women's squad to their fifth straight Big West crown, Strametz's women's teams are now tied with Utah State with seven Big West Women's Championships. He shares Women's Coach of the Year honors with Pete Dolan of UC Santa Barbara. Steering the men's squad to their second straight title and fifth in the last seven years, Strametz earned his third Men's Coach of the Year honor in the past four years. This also marks the sixth consecutive season Strametz has been honored with at least one of the Coach of the Year accolades. The Matador men won six individual titles at the league meet and have two athletes in the top 20 nationally in their respective events. Meanwhile, the Matador women claimed five individual crowns on their way to the history books.

2010 Big West Track & Field Honors

Men's Track Athlete of the Year Charles Jock, UC Irvine

Men's Field Athlete of the Year Lance Gonzales, Cal State Northridge

Men's Freshman of the Year Taylor Herrera, Cal Poly

Men's Coach of the Year Don Strametz, Cal State Northridge

Women's Track Athlete of the Year Ciara Short, Cal State Fullerton

Women's Field Athlete of the Year Desirae Gonder, Cal State Northridge

Women's Freshman of the Year Tiana Webberley, Cal State Northridge

Women's Co-Coach of the Year Pete Dolan, UC Santa Barbara Don Strametz, Cal State Northridge

- GO MATADORS -