May 20, 2009

Matadors Dominate Big West Track & Field Awards

May 20, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge, the 2009 Big West Champions on both the men's and women's side, dominated the conference's postseason awards as head coach Don Strametz, De'Shawn Waters, Rolando Felizola and Precious Watkins were all honored. The Matadors claimed five of the eight postseason awards which were handed out by the conference office on Wednesday, May 20.

Strametz added to his impressive list of accolades by being named Big West Men's and Women's Coach of the Year in 2009. He has helped lead the Matador women to four consecutive conference championships (sixth overall) while helping the men to their third Big West crown in the last five years (fourth overall).

Strametz, along with assistant coaches Avery Anderson, Bridget Pearson and Seilala Sua, were instrumental in Northridge winning 13 individual championships at the outdoor championships. In addition, the Matadors posted nine NCAA Regional qualifying marks during the meet.

The pair of coaching honors make 10 Big West Coach of the Year honors for Strametz since Northridge began competing in the conference in 2002.

Junior De'Shawn Waters earned the Men's Track Athlete of the Year and senior Rolando Felizola was named Men's Field Athlete of the Year marking the first time in Big West Conference history that one school has swept both awards.

Waters, a junior from Hercules, Calif., won Men's Track Athlete of the Year in his first season at Northridge. He easily won the 100 meters in a time of 10.53 and then won the 200 meters by the slimmest of margins. Waters ran 21.449 to edge UC Santa Barbara's Jason Newland (21.450). Waters also ran the second leg of the Matadors' 4x100 relay team that also captured a Big West title in a time of 40.55. Waters owns a pair of NCAA Regional qualifying times, 10.42 in the 100 meters and 21.42 in the 200 meters and will also represent Northridge in the 4x100 relay.

Felizola, a two-time runner-up in the triple jump at the Big West Championships (2006, 2007), claimed his first-ever conference championships by winning both the long jump and triple jump last weekend. Felizola won the long jump with a season-best mark of 24-6.25 (7.47) which also reaches NCAA Regional standards. He then won his specialty, the triple jump, with a distance of 51-7.25 (15.73). Felizola, who reached the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the triple jump in 2007, will also triple jump at the NCAA West Regionals in Oregon on May 29-30.

Watkins, a redshirt freshman from Moreno Valley, Calif., earned Women's Freshman of the Year after placing second in the 100 meters, fourth in the 200 meters and running the opening leg of the Big West Champion 4x100 relay. Watkins' time of 11.74 is a lifetime-best as well as an NCAA Regional qualifier while her 200 meter time of 24.30 is also a career-best. Watkins joins Julie Eze (2005) and Jere Summers (2006) who were also named Big West Women's Freshman of the Year in their first season competing for the Matadors.

Northridge will send 23 athelets to compete at the NCAA West Regional at Oregon's Hayward Field on May 29-30.

2009 BIG WEST TRACK & FIELD HONORS

Men's Track Athlete of the Year: De'Shawn Waters, Cal State Northridge

Men's Field Athlete of the Year: Rolando Felizola, Cal State Northridge

Men's Freshman of the Year: Derek Thomas, Cal Poly

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

Women's Track Athlete of the Year: Brenda Martinez, UC Riverside

Women's Field Athlete of the Year: Julia Dufresne, Cal Poly

Women's Freshman of the Year: Precious Watkins, Cal State Northridge

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

- GO MATADORS -