|Vandals earn two WAC titles|
Albuquerque, N.M – University Idaho track and field team claimed two titles and posted seven qualifying times on the second day of the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, N.M.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” Idaho director of track and field Wayne Phipps said. “But overall we had a lot of excellent performances.”
Senior Barry Britt earned the Vandals first WAC title of the weekend with his first-place time of 14:53.56 in the 5000m. The women’s distance medley team earned the second WAC title of the weekend. The team of freshman Marquita Palmer, senior Liga Velvere, senior Lauren Schaffer and junior Hannah Kiser finished the race with a first-place time of 11:46.10. The WAC title is Idaho’s third consecutive title in this event.
The Vandal men hold the fourth-place spot with a two-day total 18 points, which is 11 away from third-place UTSA. The women are sitting at fifth place with 29.50 points, just 2.5 points away from fourth-place.
Senior Ryan Bowen opened the day with two season-best marks in both the 60m hurdles(9.30) and the pole vault (13-11.25,4.25m) while finishing out the men’s heptathlon with a final score of 2,310. Freshman Drew Thompson finished seventh in the event with a score of 4,685.
Freshman Katelyn Peterson posted a fourth-place career-best mark of 5-7.25(1.71m) in the women’s high jump to earn her a Second-Team All-WAC honor. Joining Peterson was sophomore Emily Paradis, with sixth-place time of 18:14.72 in the 5000m securing her a Second-Team All-WAC honor.
On the men’s side the distance medley team of sophomore Colton Hastings, junior Andrew Bloom, Senior Kyle Tylor and senior Jeff Osborn placed third with a time of 10:25.23, earning them a First-Team All-WAC honor.
After the preliminary races the Vandals will advance seven competitors to the finals tomorrow. Palmer posted a career-best time in the mile (5:04.96) for a top qualifying time.
The Vandal women led the 800m with three qualifying times; Velvere, the two-time defending champ in the event, Schaffer, and senior Kelli Hall all posted top marks. Hall’s time of 2:14.08 was a season-best mark.
“Having all three qualify is key for tomorrow,” Phipps said. “I was really pleased and impressed with how all three of those girls ran today.”
The men will advance sophomore Ben Ayesu-Attah in the 400m, and Osborn in the mile.
After the second day of competition the Vandals posted three season-best marks and 11 career-best marks. They also earned three First-Team All-WAC honors and two Second-Team All-WAC honors.
Events will kick off tomorrow at 10 a.m. (PT) with the men’s high jump.