|Vandals run tally to eight|
HONOLULU - Junior Lauren Schaffer stole the show with a blistering 800m race, but it was just one of a handful of impressive University of Idaho performances on the final day of the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The Vandal junior annihilated not only the Idaho school record in the 800m, she also crushed the WAC Championship meet record with a lifetime-best 2:04.53 that puts her at seventh in the NCAA in the event.
The time bests Mary Kamau's 2005 school record of 2:05.96 and Svetlana Badrankova's 2:05.33 from the 1999 meet for UTEP.
Junior Barry Britt produced the top distance performance of the meet, as he became the first WAC double-champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m since 2003, and the first Vandal to achieve the feat. After a tight finish in the 10,000m on Friday, Britt cruised in the 5k with a time of 14:33.73.
True freshman Hannah Kiser grabbed the early lead and never relented in a relatively easy win in the women's 5000m in 16:47.89, which is the fourth-fastest championship time in WAC history. It also gives her three total crowns, along with her two indoor titles, and a team cross country title in her first season as a Vandal.
Sophomore Liga Velvere powered her way to an individual title in the women's 400m hurdles with a time of 58.81 for her third career WAC gold in her first season in an Idaho uniform.
The four Friday titles, paired with Gabby Midles' women's hammer, Eugenio Mannucci's men's shot put, Lucas Pope's men's pole vault and Britt's 10,000m, gave Idaho eight as a team at the meet.
Both teams finished fifth, as the men scored 85.33 and the women scored 91, just one point out of fourth. Idaho added eight first-team all-WAC honors and eight second-team certificates on Friday, which brings the team's week-long total to 14 first-team all-WAC honorees and 15 second-teamers.
In addition to the individual champions, sophomore Keli Hall (3rd, 800m) and junior Anna Kalbrener (3rd, 1500m) earned first-team all-WAC honors on the women's side, while Andrew Blaser (3rd, 110m hurdles) and Kyle Rothwell (3rd, hammer throw) represented the men.
The women's 4x400m relay squad of Karlene Hurrel, Keli Hall, Lauren Schaffer and Liga Velvere ran a 3:44.82 for runner-up honors and second-team all-WAC accolades. They were joined on the all-WAC second team on Friday by sophomore Kristine Leonard (4th, shot put), Blaser (4th, high jump), junior Julia Veseth (4th, 5000m) and senior Sam Michener (5th, 100m).
While the meet wraps up the season for most of the Vandal squad, another group of competitors will now keep an eye on the NCAA West Region performance list in hopes of clinching a top-48 qualifying spot for the NCAA Preliminary Round, which takes place May 26-28 at Eugene, Ore.