Before the Big West track and field championships began this week, Brandon Campbell told some of his Cal State Fullerton teammates that he was "in a zone."
Saturday at Long Beach State, Campbell proved how right he was. The Titan senior won the high jump with a personal best of 7 feet 4 1/2 inches and anchored Cal State Fullerton's winning 1,600-meter relay team by running the final leg in 47.1 seconds.
Those victories Saturday, coupled with his triumph Friday, led to Campbell being selected the conference's male athlete of the year.
"This is a great accomplishment for Brandon," Fullerton Coach John Elders said. "I'm not going to say I'm surprised, but he's really starting to look like a [top] jumper."
Campbell and Utah State's Dave Hoffman battled in the high jump final, matching each other jump for jump before Campbell hit his first attempt at 7-4 1/2 and Hoffman missed his first two at the height. Hoffman then made his third attempt and the bar was moved up to 7-5 1/4, which neither cleared. Campbell was rewarded the victory based on fewer misses.
"I knew I could do it," said Campbell, who set his previous best of 7-2 1/4 last week at the Occidental Invitational. "It was just a matter of time."
Campbell and Hoffman automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with the 7-4 1/2 mark, which is fourth best in the nation and seventh best in the world this year. But Campbell is looking for more.
"I'm not satisfied," he said. "I'm a half-inch away from qualifying for the U.S. Championships in the high jump and two inches away in the long jump, so I want to get there."
Ryan Gill was also a winner for the Titans, earning a victory in the javelin with a throw of 221-10. Also helped by second-place finishes by Richard Adams in the 110-hurdles (51.28, a school record) and Joe Thomas in the triple jump (51-4 1/2), Cal State Fullerton finished fourth overall with 90 points.
"That's all I wanted," Elders said.
Anna Doty was the lone Titan winner on the women's side, taking the triple jump with a personal-best 40-7 1/2. Doty said she got some inspiration from Campbell's victory.
"I was ready," Doty said, "and Brandon's win pumped me up."
Darrell Tozier and Kareen Nilsson recorded victories for UC Irvine, Tozier winning the men's 800 in 1:51.92 and Nilsson the women's 5,000 in 16:45.18.
Tozier stayed back early in his race, pulled ahead at the 600-meter mark and held off a hard-charging Brick Bergeson of Utah State at the finish to win by just 0.03 seconds. "I could feel him coming up [at the finish] and we both lunged," Tozier said. "Luckily, I held him off."
Idaho won the men's competition with 201 points and women's with 230. Utah State finished second in both divisions.