Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Liga Velvere won the 400m, then anchored Idaho's record 4x400m relay.
Another record falls
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 01/27/2013
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PULLMAN, Wash. – A second University of Idaho indoor track and field record fell on Saturday and Vandals accounted for five more individual wins and 10 personal-best marks at the Cougar Indoor.

The 4x400m relay quartet of junior Karlene Hurrel and seniors Lauren Schaffer, Keli Hall and Liga Velvere took a narrow second in the event and posted a time of 3:49.41, which ranks as the fastest in Idaho history on an undersized track.

“It is our goal by the end of the year to break the overall school record in that event for all track sizes, and I think this group has the ability to accomplish that,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said.

In addition to the school record, Hurrel added a win in the women’s 200m with a time of 24.79 that converts to a career-best 24.41 for track size. She also added a PR time of 7.76 in the 60m dash, where she finished fourth.

Velvere was another member of that relay team to earn an individual win, as she went 57.06 in the women’s 400m to finish just ahead of Schaffer, who was second in 57.29. Hall took seventh in the 400m with a time of 59.89.

Phipps said he was most impressed with the relay runners competed, considering it was the final event of the day and all four had already competed in other events earlier in the day.

“Everyone on the team had done other events prior to that and was pretty tired, so we weren’t really thinking about a record or anything like that,” Phipps said. “It was just about finishing the day of strongly and competing well against a strong Washington State team. We accomplished those goals and ended up running a really nice time.”

Sophomore Johanna Hocketstaller was a field event double-winner on Saturday, as she went a season-best 17-8.75 (5.40m) in the women’s long jump, then put the shot 46-9.5 (14.26m) later in the day for her second individual victory. She also ran a career-best 9.47 in the women’s 60m hurdles to start the day.

The exciting finish of the day came in the men’s 400m dash, where Vandal sophomore Ben Ayesu-Attah staged a thrilling comeback over the final 30 meters and nipped WSU’s Jacob Sealby at the finish line for a meet-record time of 48.28. After a track size conversion, the time of 47.65 is a career best, leads the WAC and ranks 42nd in the NCAA.

“Every week since he’s arrived, Ben has just gotten better and better,” Phipps said. “He didn’t panic, stayed right on the WSU runner’s shoulder and showed his ability to finish a race. When he crossed the line, I wasn’t sure if he had won or not, but I was just excited about the time.”

Ayesu-Attah also anchored the Vandal men’s 4x400m relay, which took second in 3:18.96. That time converts to a 3:16.35 for track size and ranks second in the WAC so far this season. Junior Andrew Bloom and freshmen Blake Gerling and Ian Middleton also ran legs of the relay.

Junior Hannah Kiser, the 2012 WAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year, opened her 2013 track and field season with a pair of runner-up finishes and one WAC-leading time. She ran a 4:51.19 in the women’s mile, then followed it up with a 2:16.79. Her mile time converts to a WAC-best 4:48.34, which ranks 48th in the NCAA so far this season.

Several Vandal freshman distance runners also opened their track careers on Saturday. Marquita Palmer took third in the 800m behind Kiser with a time of 2:19.70, Halie Raudenbush took fourth in the mile at 5:10.73, while Alex Sciocchetti (10:49.33) took seventh and Stephanie Rexus (11:04.94) took ninth in the women’s 3000m.

Junior Emily Paradis was third in the women’s 3000m with a time of 10:28.79, redshirt freshman Abby Larson tallied a 40-second personal best with a fifth-place finish in 10:44.54 and senior Julia Veseth took sixth in 10:47.22.

Phipps said he was encouraged by the early races from a distance crew that’s coming off its third-consecutive WAC women’s cross country team title.

“They didn’t quite have their racing legs, but that’s expected considering the volume of training we’re doing right now,” Phipps said. “We’re ready to really roll out here at our Vandal Indoor next weekend, and then again at the Husky Classic meet in two weeks.”

After a standout first year on the volleyball court in which she earned WAC All-Freshman Team honors, Katelyn Peterson, an Idaho high school state champion high jumper, made her Vandal track and field debut with a third-place finish and a height of 5-3.75 (1.62m).

Vandal track and field will be home next weekend for the 37th annual Vandal Indoor on Friday, the Vandal Collegiate on Saturday and the Vandal Open on Sunday. All three meets are sponsored by Runners Soul of Spokane.

Phipps said that the fact that two school records have already fallen and personal bests have popped up across the board over the first three weeks is a positive sign that at next weekend’s home meets and the following week’s Husky Classic at Seattle, Wash., more good things are still to come.

“When you see the progress we’re making despite the heavy workloads in practice, it’s kind of the perfect scenario,” Phipps said. “Once we start backing off training and focusing our training a little more, I think you’re going to see our progression curve really improve in the next few weeks.”
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