|Vandal women 3rd, men 4th at WAC|
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Idaho men’s and women’s track and field teams had five more individual Western Athletic Conference champions, eight first-team, and 11 second-team all-WAC performances on Saturday as the Vandal women finished third and the men finished fourth.
Hannah Kiser, who took home gold in both the women’s 10,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs, also earned WAC Track Performer of the Year honors. Barry Britt also completed the 10,000m and 5,000m sweep Saturday, winning the 5,000 in 14:44.77.
“Those two both make it look very easy, and people take that for granted that you can step out on the track and automatically win those,” Idaho coach Wayne Phipps said of Britt and Kiser’s long-distance performances. “It takes a lot out of you to get physically and mentally back up for another hard race and another long race where lots of things can happen. For them to come back and double up, I was very impressed by them both.”
Kyle Rothwell started the day by winning the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 198-09. Lauren Schaffer won the women’s 800m with a time of 2:07.33 and Liga Velvere won the women’s 400m hurdles in 58.89 seconds.
“We had a number of outstanding performances,” Phipps said. “With Kyle Rothwell winning the hammer and Lauren Schaffer coming back after a redshirt year last year to defend her title in the 800 was very impressive, and Liga Velvere winning the 400 hurdles.”
In addition to Idaho’s five individual champions from Saturday, first-team all-WAC performers on the men’s side include Ben Ayesy-Attah who finished second in the 400m with a time of 46.69, and Zach Trumbauer, who finished third in the hammer throw after a heave of 181-07. Second-team all-WAC performers on the men’s side were Andrew Bloom, who was sixth in the 400m in 48.05 seconds, Rendel Jones, who finished fourth in the triple jump at 48-11, Jeff Osborn, who was sixth in the 1500m in 3:57.82, Jesse Villines, who finished fourth in the 400m hurdles in 52.35 seconds and Blake Gerling, who took sixth in the 400m hurdles in 53.87 seconds.
Tayler Feinhour was Idaho’s only female first-team all-WAC performer who didn’t take home an individual championship, as her heave of 147-09 in the javelin was good for second. Second-team all-WAC performers on the women’s side include Johanna Hocketstaller, who took fifth in the javelin with a toss of 136-05; Ellen Rouse, who finished fourth in the javelin with a throw of 136-07; Keli Hall, who took sixth in the 800m in 2:14.19; Karlene Hurrel, who finished sixth in the 100m in 11.86; and Marquita Palmer, who took fifth in the 1500m in 4:32.98.
The Vandal women finished in third as a team, with 116 points, behind champion Texas State (179) and UT Arlington (140). UTSA finished fourth with 100.50 points, Louisiana Tech finished fifth with 99, New Mexico State was sixth with 96.50, Utah State took seventh with 63 points and Seattle University was eighth with 21 points.
On the men’s side, Idaho took fourth place with 125 points, behind champion Texas State (149), Utah State (143) and UTA (136). LA Tech was fifth with 117, UTSA was sixth with 98 points and Seattle U was seventh with 48 points.
“I thought if we had a close to perfect meet then we would have a chance to win on both sides, and I still really believe that was the case,” Phipps said. “That happens. When we’ve won, it’s been a combination of a little bit of luck, a little bit of bad luck for some other teams, and our team performing very well. We just didn’t get that combo together over these four days. We had a number of amazing performances, I’m really proud of the way our team competed, but we just kept missing out on points that we really needed and we just didn’t have enough to keep rebounding back.”