Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|T&F wraps up NCAA Prelim|
AUSTIN, Texas – The four remaining University of Idaho track and field athletes performed well to wrap up the team’s action at the NCAA West Preliminary Round meet on Saturday at Austin, Texas.
Three seniors, Andrew Blaser, Stephane Colle and Gabby Midles, competed in an Idaho uniform for the final time in their careers on Saturday, along with junior Sarah Nutsch, who was making her first career NCAA trip.
Blaser finished 14th in the quarterfinal round of the men’s 110m hurdles with a time of 13.84. The race had a 4.1 m/s wind reading, which is not allowable for record purposes, but is the fastest all-conditions race of his career.
“It’s so hard to get to that point, and he was four one-hundredths away from moving on,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said of Blaser. “For him to run that time and miss by just that much just shows you when he can focus on just one event like that, what he’s really capable of.”
Colle finished 23rd in the men’s 5000m with a time of 14:37.29 in his first career NCAA meet. A transfer in his first year with the Vandal program, Colle leaves the program ranked second all-time at Idaho in the men’s 5000m.
“He stuck in there pretty well, and hung in with the first move and then he just got kind of hung up in the second move and fell back behind the main group that ended up moving on,” Phipps said. “He jumped up a bunch of places higher than he was seeded and I was really happy with the way he battled in adverse conditions.”
Those conditions were high temperatures, paired with winds throughout the day that led to slower than usual NCAA meet times.
“The sun wasn’t out, but it was still high 80s, high humidity and pretty windy, so it was not the best conditions for great distance performances,” Phipps said. “You had guys who went in with times in the 13s or low 14-minute range who ran almost a full minute slower than that today.”
In the women’s hammer throw, Midles hit 182-11 (55.76m) to finish 34th in her third career NCAA trip in the event. She holds the distinction as the first Vandal woman to qualify for the national meet in the hammer throw and is the second woman in Idaho history to qualify for NCAAs in the same event three seasons in a row.
I know it wasn’t what she wanted to go out with today, but Gabby has done so much for our team and she has achieved so much as a Vandal,” Idaho head track and field coach Julie Taylor said. “I’m so proud of what she’s done here. She leaves Idaho as the school record holder and she’s been to this meet three times and once to the final.”
Junior Sarah Nutsch, a former walk-on from Jerome, Idaho, who picked up the hammer for the first time as a Vandal freshman, threw 174-5 (53.16m) and finished 44th in her first career NCAA action.
“She was throwing a little tentatively and she finished off with her best throw on the last attempt, so you could see that she was getting comfortable,” Taylor said of Nutsch. “It was definitely a good learning experience for her. Being in the top 48 in this region is a big accomplishment and I’m very excited to see what she can do next year.”
With the preliminary rounds in the books, one Vandal, junior Mike Marshall of Yakima, Wash., will advance to the NCAA Championships final round in the men’s javelin. Marshall has had a breakout season that includes a WAC individual title and a season-best mark of 230-6 that is 28 feet better than his 2011 best and ranks third all-time at Idaho.
“Mike has had such a great season for us,” Taylor said. “He came in and barely qualified for this meet last year, but wasn’t able to compete because his shoulder was not feeling very good. To show up here and qualify for the final is amazing – he’s never been to a meet of this caliber before.
“We’ll go into Des Moines and try to hit 70 meters again. I think that would be a good goal for him and if he can do that, it will be a great thing for him.”
Marshall’s competition will start in the javelin at 12:30 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, June 7, at Des Moines, Iowa. He began the week ranked 25th in the NCAA in the event.