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2017 season looking bright for track and field team

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Khallifah Rosser (left) , leading the way

Khallifah Rosser (left) , leading the way

Kirby Lee

Kirby Lee

Khallifah Rosser (left) , leading the way

Oscar Alanis, Intern

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Cal State LA track and field is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. The 2016 season featured a Division II National Champion, a Gold Medalist and a couple of All-Americans.

Returning for her 5th year at Cal State LA, head coach Tina Fernades leads both the men and women track and field teams. Both teams finished the season unranked by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). However, the teams were in the top 15 at one point during the 2016 season.

Under Fernandes’ leadership, the men were ranked as high as 7 in the nation, and the women at 14. At the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the men finished at 25.

Returning for the men is senior Khallifah Rosser; he will lead the pack after an astounding 2016 season. In his first year with the Golden Eagles, Rosser won multiple races, broke records, and won multiple awards. The 400-meter hurdler topped off the season being named California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Track Athlete of the Year, winning the NCAA Division II 400-meter intermediate hurdles and, during the offseason, participating in the 2016 Olympic Trials.

The senior athlete clearly set the bar high for the 2017 season, but he is up to the task to do better this season. Assistant Coach Orentheus Hutcherson, says Khallifah will have to work on the “small things” in order to keep improving.

“The main things Khallifah will have to do to get better is to trust the race strategy and have clean races each and every week,” Hutcherson said.

On the other hand, freshman J’Liyah Miles will look to lead the women. The talented freshmen specializes in the long jump; she was named the Women’s Freshman of the Meet at the 2016 CCAA Championships after winning the long jump with a his personal best of 19-1.25.

The indoor season has started, and the Golden Eagles are already off to a good start. On Jan. 21, Cal State LA took a trip to Nampa, ID for the Boise State Bronco Invitational and left with promising results.

In his first indoor race, Khallifah Rosser did everything but disappoint. He ran the 400-meter race and won, finishing with a time of 46.63, automatically qualifying him for the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in March.

Ingvar Moseley won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.00 giving him a provisional qualification to the indoor championships. He was 0.11 seconds short of an automatic bid. Moseley is a junior out of Canada that looks to boost the Golden Eagles squad.

Performances by Rosser, Moseley, the 4×400 relay team, and nine top 10 finishes helped elevate Cal State LA from “not ranked” to 25 in the first NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings.

Ericka Taylor had the best individual finish for the women. She ran the 800-meter race and finished with a time of 2:20.36 for 7th place. The Golden Eagles 4×400 relay team finished 5th with a time of 4:05.81. Overall, the women finished with two top 10 finishes.

Cal State LA has picked up where they left off in the 2016 season and Coach Fernandes is not surprised. She expects big things of this program.

“All of our student-athletes have been very motivating among each other pushing and cheering each other to do their best,” Fernandes said. “I believe this is an excellent environment for the proper development to take place.”

Next up for the Cal State LA’s track teams is a trip to New York for the Armory Track Invitational on beginning Feb. 3.

The outdoor season begins on Feb. 25, at the Rossi Relays in Claremont.

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