Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|Three Vandals recognized|
DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference honored three University of Idaho track and field athletes on Tuesday with Verizon Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week accolades for their efforts at last weekend’s season-opening meet.
Freshman Ben Ayesu-Attah and senior Jeremy Klas claimed the Verizon WAC Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors, respectively, while junior Kristine Leonard earned the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week honor.
Ayesu-Attah (Coquitlam, British Columbia) started off his Idaho career in grand fashion with a victory and meet record in the men’s 400m dash. He ran a 49.75 to break the eight-year-old former record of 49.88. His time officially converts to a 49.15 for track size and is the fastest in the WAC so far this season.
Klas (Moscow, Idaho) broke his own meet record and came up just short of his own school record on Saturday with a height of 17-4.5 (5.30m) in the pole vault. That mark is tied for eighth-best in the NCAA so far this season. Klas went out after three strong attempts at 17-9.25 (5.42m) and most impressively, did so while still working from a shortened, six-step approach.
Leonard (Rathdrum, Idaho) posted two personal bests in three events and finished second or better in each one over the weekend. She started out on Friday with a win and a PR 154-8 (47.14m) in the indoor discus competition, then followed it up later that day with a career-best 52-0.5 (15.86m) for a runner-up finish in the 20-lb. weight throw. On Saturday, she capped things off with another runner-up finish and a toss of 44-0.5 (13.42m) in the shot put.
The honor is the first for Ayesu-Attah, the second for Leonard and the fifth for Klas. The Vandal track and field team claimed three Indoor WAC Athlete of the Week awards in all of the 2011 season.
A small group of Vandals will compete on Saturday at the Bronco Invitational at Nampa, Idaho. Klas, Leonard and Ayesu-Attah will lead the next full team effort into the Cougar Indoor on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, at the WSU Indoor Facility.