Track Athletes to Watch
Kasey Burlingham, senior pole vaulter: He’s the defending NCAA Division II champion in his event. Of course, there’s pressure for him to repeat his stellar 2009 run, which concluded with a personal best height of 17 feet, 8 1/2 inches. It’ll take some time.
Annie Burlingham, senior pole vaulter: She’s the wife of Kasey Burlingham, and she’s already making noise in her final season. Burlingham has earned a spot to compete at the 2010 NCAA Indoor National Championships next month after clearing 12 feet, 8 inches at the Run for the Dream Invitational in Fresno.
Joey Nunes, senior distance runner: After a successful cross country season, he will attempt to eventually top his second-place finish in the 5,000 meters at last season’s California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
Alycia Wagner, senior pole vaulter: She will be part of a talented pole-vaulting squad, as Wagner is the reigning CCAA champion in her event. She recently reached an indoor height of 11-9 3/4 for the 13th-best in the country. She also competes in the hurdles.
Cuauhtemoc Vallejo-Howard, senior thrower: He won the CCAA title in the men’s hammer throw in 2009, which also included a second-place finish in discus. Vallejo-Howard is expected to have another strong season.
Denali and Rubye Foldager, sophomore distance runners: The twin sisters will be important pieces for the Stanislaus women’s distance team, as both are coming off impressive cross country seasons.
When the meet registration closed on Wednesday, 17 teams and more than 200 athletes, including the Warriors, had registered to compete at this year’s event — one of five track meets scheduled at the on-campus facility this spring.
Last week, the NCAA awarded Cal State Stanislaus and Al Brenda Track the host site of the 2011 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships.
“I am sure the late Al Brenda is smiling down on us as we open our new state-of-the-art track and field facility,” athletic director Milt Richards said. “I want to wish our coaches and student-athletes all the best as they begin their inaugural season on the Al Brenda Track. We are grateful to President (Hamid) Shirvani and our student body for making this beautiful facility possible.”
Among the stars scheduled to compete at the All-Comers meet are the defending men's pole vault national champion and Stanislaus senior Kasey Burlingham. His wife, Annie, will participate in the women's pole vault. She will be headed for the indoor national championships next month. Also in women's pole vault, is teammate Alycia Wagner, the defending California Collegiate Athletic Association champion.
Also returning for the Warriors is Cuauhtemoc Vallejo-Howard, who won the CCAA title in men's hammer throw and placed second in discus in 2009. In the men's jumping events, Luther Bell will compete in both the triple jump and long jump. He finished second and third, respectively, a year ago at the CCAA championships in Chico.
The track events will feature returners Terry Gross (third at CCAA in 400 meters) and Joey Nunes (second in 5000 meters) and the men's 4x400-meter relay team (third), as well as many newcomers looking to make a difference in 2010.
On the women's side, Denali Foldager (distance), Derrhea McLiechey (400 meters), Jeni Cunha (throws), Rio Schwalbach (jumps) and Rubye Foldager (distance) are in the middle of solid indoor seasons and all should be contributors this spring.
Among the area colleges attending the All-Comers meet are Merced College, Fresno City College, Modesto Junior College, College of the Sequoias and Mills College. A number of local athletes — including former Warriors Manny Lopez, Jose Morales, April Montgomery, Charissa Spears, Kevin Bull, Cole Sprague — will also compete.