|Four Vandals are champs|
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Idaho men’s and women’s track teams crowned four individual Western Athletic Conference champions and had nine first-team all-WAC and five second-team all-WAC performances on the third day of the WAC outdoor track and field championships in Arlington, Texas, and both teams find themselves in second place heading into the final day.
Hannah Kiser set the track record in her first 10,000 meter race with a 35:20.35 to take gold, while Barry Britt ran the same race in 31:42.77 for a 10-second victory on the men’s side.
“On the track, sweeping the 10k was pretty exciting,” Idaho track and field coach Wayne Phipps said. “With two very well established runners you might say it’s not so surprising, but it’s easier said than done. In the 10k anything can happen and it’s a very competitive field on both sides. I’m excited for both Hannah and Barry.”
Jeremy Klas won the men’s pole vault with a school record vault of 5.36 meters, while Kristine Leonard tossed a personal best 49.59 meters in the discus to take gold.
Klas wasn’t the only Vandal vaulter to find success. Matt Sullivan earned first-team all-WAC honors in the event with a third place finish after a vault of 4.96 meters. Dylan Watts finished fourth with his jump of 4.71 meters to take home second-team all-WAC honors.
“Our guy vaulters, Jeremy Klas winning and Matt Sullivan competing with what was originally thought to be a broken wrist and getting third was amazing,” Phipps said.
Freshman Halie Raudenbush took third in the women’s steeplechase with a time of 11:03.51 to pick up first-team all-WAC honors, and on the men’s side, freshman Nathan Stark took home fifth in the steeplechase for second-team all-WAC honors with a time of 9:32.69.
“I’m really excited for those two freshmen,” Phipps said of his steeplechase performers. “Halie Riedenbush getting first-team all-WAC in the steeplechase, an absolutely new event for her, and same thing with Nathan Starke, who was a 400 runner in high school and we thought it would be a good idea to try the steeplechase and he ends up getting second-team all-WAC, so I’m really excited for them.”
Also turning first-team all-WAC performances for the Vandals were Alyssa Covington, who finished third with a leap of 5.86 in the long jump, Sarah Nutsch, whose heave of 56.88 meters in the hammer throw was second, and Mike Marshall, who finished second in the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 66.76 meters.
Idaho’s second-team honoree’s also include Ugis Svas, who took fourth in the men’s javelin with a throw of 64.97, Jason Lorentz, who took sixth in the men’s long jump with a 7.34 meter leap, and Johanna Hocketstaller, who finished sixth in the women’s discuss with a throw of 47.04 meters.
Several Vandals qualified for Saturday’s finals in preliminary track events on Friday. Liga Velvere’s 58.83 in the women’s 400m hurdles was the top qualifying time, as was Lauren Schaffer’s 2:08.07 in the women’s 800m. Keli Hall also qualified in the women’s 800m with a 2:12.87. Marquita Palmer and Anna Kalbrener each qualified for the finals in the women’s 1500 meter run. Karlene Hurrel earned the final qualifying spot in both the women’s 100m and 200m, with an 11.92 in the 100m and a 24.38 in the 200m.
“Karlene Hurrel making the finals in both the 100 and 200 when she wasn’t projected to was huge,” Phipps said.
On the men’s side, Jeff Osborn and Colton Hastings earned a spot in the finals in the 1500, Ben Ayesu-Attah and Andrew Bloom did so in the 400 meter, Kyle Tylor qualified in the 800 and Jesse Villines and Blake Gerling qualified in the men’s 400 hurdles.
Both Vandal teams are in second place in the meet entering the final day on Saturday. The men have 56 points, and trail UT Arlington, which has 76. Utah State and Texas State are tied for third on the men’s side with 44 points each. The Idaho women have 48 points, and trail Texas State’s 74. UTA is in third with 39 and UTSA has 38.
“For both men and women we’re pretty happy with where we are right now,” Phipps said. “There are always going to be ups and downs. We had a few events on the guy’s side where we were projected to score a few more points than we did, but then we rebounded in a couple other events. It’s pretty much the same on the women’s side. Tomorrow sets up very well. We got more people into finals, especially on the women’s side than projected, but we snuck a couple guys in there as well.”
Field events begin at 9 a.m. (PT) on Saturday and the meet concludes with the men’s 1600-meter relay on Saturday evening.