The Banana Slugs are going to heavily rely on youth to build one of the most impressive Division III Programs on the West Coast. After initially adding Men's Track & Field to the UC Santa Cruz athletic department during the 2016 season, the Banana Slugs are looking to flourish in 2017. With an outstanding freshman recruiting class the Banana Slugs are looking to compete in all 21 NCAA Sponsored Track & Field Events this season, with the goal of sending participants to the NCAA Division III Championships in just its second year of existence.
A youthful sprint squad is going to step onto the track for the Banana Slugs during the 2017 season. The Slugs will look to freshman Miles Saxty of Alameda, California to compete in the 100-meter and 200 meter. With an arsenal of 400-meter runners, the UC Santa Cruz 4x400-meter relay is looking to stir up the national rankings. With 400-meter/800-meter runners Terry Guan, Draven Hawk, and Tyler Jung with the assistance of hurdlers Brandon Hill and Carson Lysik, the future looks incredibly bright.
The Banana Slugs look to take a big step forward in their performances in the hurdle events this season under the direction of assistant coach David Klech. The Men of UC Santa Cruz will rely heavily on freshman Brandon Hill from Buchanan HS in Clovis, CA. Hill, a 2016 CIF State Championship Qualifier, will look to lead the Men in both the 110h and 400h. Hill will look to gain assistance from Junior College transfer Carson Lysik, a Western States Conference finalist.
UCSC's head coach Jamey Harris has earned a reputation as being one of the elite distance coaches on the west coast, earning the Association of Division III Independents Cross Country Coach of the year in his three consecutive seasons as head coach. The 2016 season saw the emergence of Banana Slug sophomore Take Yamaya as one of the team's leading middle distance runners. Yamaya from Redondo Beach, California was a consistent performer in both the 800m and 1500m throughout the season, breaking into the national rankings in both events. The Banana Slugs will also see the return of Draven Hawk after an injury plagued 2016. Hawk a 2015 graduate of Scotts Valley HS in Scotts Valley, California was the CIF CCS 800m Champion boasting a 1:55.19. Freshman Solomon Reinman, the reigning Humboldt Del Norte League 800m Champion, is also expected to impress.
The 2016 season proved to be a banner season for UCSC's harrier squad as the Banana Slugs recorded three members on the NCAA Division III All West Regional Team. A product of nearby Watsonville, California, AD3I Runner of the Year Paul Colosi led the Banana Slugs this fall as the first underclassmen in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. He was joined on the All-Region team by sophomore Dante Capone and freshman Zahid Anjum. The Banana Slugs will also see contributions in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter from Cross Country freshman school record holder Ethan Williams this outdoor season.
Horizontal Jumps/Vertical Jumps/Multis
The UC Santa Cruz jump squad will see leadership from veteran pole vaulter Damiano Carrioli from Pavia, Italy. Carrioli, already the school record holder in the event, will look to improve his NCAA ranking from last season and compete for a spot at the National Championships under the guidance of volunteer pole vault coach Paul Friedenbach. With the addition of Junior Austin Duncan from Ventura, California the Banana Slugs look to expand their roster into the horizontal jumps. Already a proven performer in the Long Jump, Duncan looks to add the triple jump to his competition schedule this spring. Transfer Carson Lysik is going to be a busy member of the UC Santa Cruz Track & Field team by being a solid performer in all three jumps, as well as taking on the Decathlon for the first time in his career. Already a proven sprinter/jumper Lysik has spent considerable time working on his throws to become one of the best multi-eventers on the west coast.
Under the direction of volunteer coach Geoff Foley, the throws group is looking to have an immediate impact on the team. The throws group will be led by freshman Kevin Raja from Amador Valley HS in Pleasanton, California. An already proven performer in the Shot Put and Discus Throw, Raja is going to also take on the Hammer Throw this spring. Jeff Zhang looks to be the tip of the spear for the Slugs' Javelin contingent.