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DeSousa wins conference pentathlon silver

DeSousa captures pentathlon silver


 The St. Thomas native didn't let short notice affect her performance at conference


   February 22, 2022


By Rob J. Ross 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Tayah DeSousa wasn't planning on doing multiple events.

The 18-year from St. Thomas, a freshman at Long Beach State University, in Los Angeles, was focusing on her specialty, the 60-metre hurdles, for the NCAA Mountain Pacific conference indoor track and field championships, Feb. 18-19, in Spokane, Washington.

On the suggestion of her coach, Andy Sythe, DeSousa suddenly found herself preparing for the women's pentathlon, a multi discipline event featuring long jump, high jump, shot put, the 800-metre run and the 60-metre hurdles.

For short notice, DeSousa fared well capturing the silver medal, with a personal best 3,303 points.

team width= Tayah DeSousa warms up during the Mountain Pacific Conference indoor track and field meet with the Long Beach State track and field team, Feb 18-19. (photo / courtesy Long Beach State Athletics)

"It was a very last minute decision for me to be entered in the pent," DeSousa said, "So I only had a week to train for the extra events that I don't normally do, like high jump and shot put, but my coach thought it would be a good opportunity to score more (team) points, so I decided to do it and it turned out well."

Her points total is the seventh most for women's pentathlon in Long Beach history.

DeSousa won long jump, with personal best leap of 5.49 metres, placed second in the 60-metre hurdles with another PB of 8.86 seconds, was third in shot put (9.34 metres) and sixth, in both high jump (1.48m) and the 800-metre run (two minutes, 39.22 seconds).

Halley Folson, from BYU, won the pentathlon amassing 3,818 points.

Previously DeSousa competed in the pentathlon with the St. Thomas Legion Club, in 2020, at the Athletics Ontario combined events meet, in Toronto, compiling 3,201 points.

As for the 60-metre hurdles, DeSousa finished seventh in the women's final, in a clocking of 9.04 seconds. It was just off her time of 8.90 seconds from the prelims.

"My 60 final didn't go as well as I had hoped it would, but I have outdoor season coming up so I have to focus on the 100-metre hurdles now," DeSousa said.

The outdoor meet schedule begins March 4.

A graduate of Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, DeSousa is adapting to competing on the NCAA stage.

"This indoor season has been a little tough for me but I think it's putting me in a good position for outdoors because now I know what I need to work on so I can get all of my bad habits out of the way," DeSousa said. "Competing in the States has been a huge adjustment for me, mostly because now I'm competing with girls who can be up to 5-6 years older, so they're a lot stronger and more experienced."

Road trips are the norm for Long Beach and this indoor season, the team flew to Colorado and New Mexico, as well as Washington State for conference.

team width= Tayah DeSousa prepares for her next event with the Long Beach State track and field team at the Mountain Pacific Conference indoor track and field meet, Feb 18-19. (photo / courtesy Long Beach State Athletics)

"I have really enjoyed travelling with my team and I find it creates a good bonding experience for everybody and it gives us a chance to talk to other teammates that we normally wouldn't get the chance to interact with at practice," said DeSousa. "It's also been really nice to see new places, since I'm in California we have to travel pretty far to go to an indoor facility because everyone around us is an outdoor school."

DeSousa is one of two Canadians with Long Beach, her fellow Hab, a javelin thrower from Vancouver.

"Yes, I get random questions about Canada all the time," said DeSousa, adding with a laugh. "At first I thought it was just because I was new, but six months later, I'm still getting random questions about Canada."

The criminal justice student is enjoying life on the California west coast.

"Living in L.A. has been so much fun," DeSousa said. "The weather is starting to get warm again so we're making more trips to the beach and there's just more stuff to do overall. When I was in St. Thomas, it was harder to find things to do, but now I have a lot of local attractions and things I can go to."

The Mountain Pacific conference includes BYU, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, the University of Portland, UC Irvine, Hawaii, UC Davis, and the University of San Francisco.