The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The lifeblood of the Bulldogs this season has been their field competitors. The CSM squad showcased its abilities by medaling in all four men’s disciplines and three women’s disciplines Saturday.
Paced by sophomore Aaron Volkman, the CSM men captured first place in three events. Volkman took first place in two events, topping all shot put competitors with a throw of 16.1 meters. He also took first place in the hammer throw with a throw of 50.23. CSM’s Scott Chiesa captured first place in the javelin with a throw of 59.93. Volkman also took third place in the discus with a throw of 40.41, ranking behind San Jose City College’s Keanu Foki in first at 47.11 and Monterey Peninsula’s John Irving in second at 40.91.
Volkman is a transfer sophomore who took a long layoff after his freshman season at Diablo Valley College in 2009. That season, he advanced to the state finals. This season he is on track for a convincing return. He has improved as an all-around thrower this season, upping his personal best in the shot put by more than a meter.
“I’m stronger (this season),” Volkman said. “I actually have a coach now. I didn’t have a coach then.”
The coach of whom Volkman spoke is longtime CSM assistant coach Mike Lewis, who has made his home away from home at the CSM throwing platform for over 30 years. A retired fire fighter after 36 years with the San Francisco Fire Department, Lewis takes pride in conveying the intricacies of throwing mechanics to the myriad talents that have competed at CSM over the decades.
Lewis raved about Volkman and Chiesa’s performances Saturday and equated the ability of Chiesa — who is set to transfer to Cal next season — to a current Division I talent.
“He can compete,” Lewis said. “He probably throws further than any Cal javelin thrower over there right now.”
The CSM women were represented exclusively by sophomore Moreen Pahulu. Running away with the discus, Pahulu took first place in the discipline with a throw of 41.38, topping San Jose’s Kelani DeSato in second at 38.61. Pahulu also took second place in the hammer throw with a throw of 47.1, finishing behind San Jose’s Lindsay McKee at 51.87. Pahulu took third place in the javelin with a throw of 32.16, finishing behind the De Anza tandem of first-place Gabby Whetstone at 36.23 and second-place Katie Baxter at 32.95. Pahulu also ranked sixth in the shot put with a throw of 10.48.
A graduate of Mills in 2012, Pahulu is relatively new to the world of track and field. She began competing with the Vikings as a senior. Prior to that, she said a future as an elite thrower never occurred to her. And the reason is quite simple.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know they had a team,” Pahulu said.
At the recommendation of her cousins Josh and Nicole Ukilifi, Pahulu discovered the team at Mills and quickly excelled, taking second place as a discus thrower at the Central Coast Section finals in Gilroy.