The Orion

Chico State preview: track & field poised to continue dominating

Michelle Holt competing in the 100 hurdles at the 2018 Wildcat invite on March 10. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Michelle Holt competing in the 100 hurdles at the 2018 Wildcat invite on March 10. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Noah Andrews

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Chico State’s track and field program has demonstrated an unparalleled level of success throughout the last few years. Last season, the men’s team won their third straight California Collegiate Athletic Association championship. It was their 14th conference title in the last 15 seasons.

The women’s team finished third in the Athletic Associaton’s championship last season. Prior to that, they’d won eight consecutive conference titles.

Both teams finished within the top 25 track & field programs in the nation, with the men’s team tying for 10th and the women’s finishing 24th.

With both their seasons set to kick off this Saturday at University Stadium, they’ll be looking to continue the program’s dominance.

There are several standout athletes and coaches returning this season that appear primed to help the team succeed.

Men’s Track and Field:

Kyle Medina.jpeg

Kyle Medina ran the fastest time in Division II since 2015 for the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 2018. Photo credit: Martin Chang


Head coach Oliver Hanf, high jumper Tyler Arroyo and runners Derrick Morton, Eddie King, Jack Johnson and Wyatt Baxter will be the driving factors behind Chico’s quest for a four-peat. After coming off as impressive in the 2018 campaigns, all are poised for an excellent 2019 seasons.

Coach Hanf will be returning for his sixth year as the men’s head coach. Under his tutelage, Chico’s 2018 campaign saw an Athletic Association championship, a top spot in the West Region and a national rank of 10 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Arroyo will begin his 2019 campaign as the defending Athletic Association champion in the high jump, as well as the defending West Region Field Athlete of the Year. Coupled with All-American honors and a Coaches Association All-West selection from last year, Arroyo will be a major player in the Athletic Association this year.

King will be looking to improve upon an eighth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the 2018 Athletic Association championships that earned him All-American honors. He paired his impressive showing with an All-West region selection and is the reigning Athletic Association champion in the 5k.

Johnson earned First Team All-American honors in the steeplechase and Second Team All-American in the 5,000-meter at the 2018 Athletic Association championships. He finished the season with an All-West Region selection in both events and placed second in the steeple at the Athletic Association championships.

Morton closed out his 2018 campaign with Second Team All-American honors in the 800-meter, an All-West Region selection for the 800 and 1,500-meter and a third-place finish in the 1,500-meter at the Athletic Association championships.

Baxter begins the season as the reigning Athletic Association champion in the 10,000-meter and a 2018 All-West Region selection.

Women’s Track and Field:

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Adelae Freeden participates in the 110m hurdles at Chico State in 2018. Photo credit: Kailah Cabiles


Head coach Robert Nooney, pole vaulter Megan Ferrell, sprinter Michelle Holt, long jumper Jessica Lee, and runners Hayley Boynton and Kayden Carpenter are all primed for big 2019 campaigns. They’ll be the ones to keep your eye on as Chico women’s track & field look to recapture the Athletic Association championship that eluded them last season.

Coach Nooney took over the reins from current men’s coach Oliver Hanf in 2013 and has since led Chico women’s track & field to four Athletic Association championships. He directed the Wildcats to a top five West Region Ranking in 2018 and a shared spot at number 24 in the nation at the Athletic Association Track & Field Championship.

Ferrell (pole vault) and Lee (long jump) finished their 2018 campaigns as the Athletic Association champions in their respective events, with Ferrell earning an All-West Region selection to go along with her title. They’ll both be pivotal parts of Chico’s championship effort this season as they look to defend their titles.

Holt closed out last season with second-team All-American honors in the 200-meter dash at the 2018 NCAA Championships, an All-West Region selection in both the 100 and 200-meter dash and a second place finish in the 100 and 200-meter at the Athletic Association championships.

Boynton helped represent the Wildcats at the 2018 Athletic Association championships, received an All-West Region selection in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finished third in the steeple at the event.

Carpenter finished out her campaign with a second place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the Athletic Association championship.

While the players listed will all be vital to the Wildcat’s championship hopes, at the end of the day it is a team sport: Contributions will have to come from across the board if Chico State is to extend their dominance another season.

Noah Andrews can be reached at [email protected] or @SPORTSFROMNOAH1 on Twitter.

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Chico State preview: track & field poised to continue dominating