2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships, Meagan McKee & Je'Nia Sears, Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, June 11, 2014. Photos by Geoff Thurner, Copyright 2014.
The 2012 Track Commission Awards and Honors Banquet was held at World Sports Cafe in Fresno, Calif. May 17, 2012.
Lisa Misipeka enters her seventh season as the throwing coach at Fresno State.
She had a strong sixth season during the 2013-2014 year. Her senior standout, Meagan McKee closed her career with an 18th place finish at the NCAA Championships in the women's hammer throw. In addition to McKee, seniors Roderick Dash and Brice Sandri qualified to compete in the NCAA West Regionals. This season Dash threw a life time best in the hammer throw to earn him a spot in the Bulldogs All-Time Top 10 record books. Sandri had similar success under the coach Misipeka. He threw a life-time best this season in the discus which put him fourth All-Time in the Bulldogs record books.
In 2011 & 2012 Misipeka guided a Bulldog to a Western Athletic Conference Championship in the outdoor shot put. Sophomore Meagan McKee won the shot put in 2012 after J'Quyra Mocur-Blue owned the title in the previous season. McKee had a breakout year under Misipeka as she set the second-best shot put distance in Fresno State history with a 16.18-meter throw; 22cm shy of the Olympic Provisional "B" Qualifying mark.
Misipeka's throwing team garnered the highest number of throwers representing the WAC at the NCAA Regional Championships in 2012 with four qualifiers. Moncur-Blue (60.21m) and McKee (58.54m) both set personal records in the hammer throw at the regional but came up short in making the national finals.
In 2011, Moncur-Blue won the WAC title in the shot put and qualified for the NCAA Regional. At the Regional Moncur-Blue exceled at the hammer throw and qualified for NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, the second consecutive year a Bulldog qualified the national finals.
During the indoor season, the Bulldogs had two throwers earn WAC indoor titles. Meagan McKee won the 2011 weight throw title and Rosario Sanchez earned the shot put title as the Bulldogs finished the meet in sixth place.
In her second season, Misipeka once again led a strong throwing group, led by Rosario Sanchez, who finished 13th at the NCAA National Championships in the shot put.
Misipeka also coached Moncur-Blue to a WAC Indoor title, a second place WAC Championships finish in the hammer throw and a fourth place finish at the 2010 USA Junior National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Academically, Moncur-Blue was named to the All-Academic USTFCCCA Team and five student-athletes were named Academic All-WAC.
Under Misipeka, the throwers improved leaps and bounds. In her first season, Fresno State's throwers earned two All-American honors, eight NCAA Regional qualifications, two conference titles and nine All-WAC accolades.
Misipeka, a decorated thrower herself, guided Sharon Ayala to a pair of All-American honors in 2009. Ayala won the WAC crown in the weight throw during the indoor season and advanced to the NCAA Indoor Championships, a first for Fresno State since 1999. At the national championships, Ayala set a new Bulldog record of 66-feet, 6-inches (20.26 meters) and took sixth to nab All-American accolades.
During the outdoor season, Ayala continued her throwing success with the hammer throw. Ayala repeatedly smashed the Bulldog record for the hammer throw and marked the third-best throw in the country of 218-3 (66.52m) en route to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She also set a new hammer throw stadium record at Utah State's Ralph Maughan Track in Logan, Utah, during the WAC Outdoor Championships, where she picked up her fourth conference crown. In Sharon's second event, the discus, she improved over 15 feet.
Misipeka helped develop sophomore Kayla Xavier into a dominant thrower in multiple events. Under Misipeka's guidance, Xavier qualified three events (shot put, hammer throw and discus toss) for the NCAA Regional, a first for any Fresno State athlete. Xavier also became just the third Bulldog in history to throw the shot put over 50 feet with a mark of 50-5.25 (15.37m).
Another of Misipeka's athletes, Grace Wiesmann, found success in 2009. Wiesmann not only qualified for the NCAA Regional in the hammer throw, but was also named to ESPN The Magazine's Second Team Academic All-District team.
On the men's side, Misipeka worked to develop the throwers, who picked up two NCAA Regional qualifications and one runner-up finish at the conference championships. Tim Greene took second in the hammer throw at the WAC Championships with his final toss bettering his lifetime best from 189-11 (57.89m) to 203-09 (62.11m). Greene's performances at WAC qualified him for the NCAA Regionals in both the hammer and the discus.
In 2008, Misipeka returned to collegiate athletics to coach the Bulldog throwers after training for the Olympic games and working with student-athletes of all ages through her company HYPE.
As a professional athlete, she trained with University of Southern California's throws coach Dan Lange, as she earned a bronze medal in the hammer throw at the World Championships in 1999 and championed various international meets en route to her appearances at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Misipeka was the flag bearer for America Samoa.
Misipeka competed for South Carolina as a collegiate athlete. During her career with the Gamecocks, Misipeka was a two-time NCAA champion, winning the national title in the hammer throw and the 20 pound weight throw in 1998. She also picked up 11 All-American honors and three SEC titles in the throwing events over her career. Misipeka's hammer throw of 213-3 (65.00m) in 1998 set a school record for South Carolina, a record that still stands today. Of all her honors, Misipeka is most proud of the five Academic All-American honors she earned while at South Carolina. In 2007, Misipeka was inducted into both the University of South Carolina's Hall of Fame and the SEC's Hall of Fame.
After college, Misipeka was a motivational speaker for the Drug Enforcement Agency and was named the South Carolina Woman of the Year in 1999. She continues to inspire others through her motivational speaking.
Misipeka and her husband, Bryant Allen, created HYPE (How You Perceive Excellence), in 2000 to work with young athletes individually. The program works to develop athletes of all disciplines physically, mentally, academically and emotionally.
In 2000, Misipeka began coaching at Northern Arizona, where she coached the throws. In her two years at NAU, she guided four athletes to the NCAA National Championships (two indoor and two outdoor).
With hard work and determination, the student-athletes, who were walk-ons and partial scholarship athletes, made dramatic improvements in their shot put, hammer, discus and weight throw marks under her tutelage.
Misipeka also coached at West Los Angeles College for a season. Over the last 10 years, she has worked as a motivational speaker as working as a strength and conditioning coach for various Los Angeles-area athletic programs.
A graduate of Temecula High School in Temecula Calif., Misipeka was ranked among the top 10 high school basketball recruits from the state. She was heavily recruited by top Division I schools to compete in both basketball and track and field. In the end, Misipeka opted to compete solely in track and field, wanting to rely on herself to reach her goal of competing at the Olympic games.
She earned a bachelor of science in education from South Carolina in 1998. Misipeka and her husband have a son, Bryson, and live in Fresno, Calif.