‘They could be the best’

A handful of athletes traveled down to Eugene, Ore. over the weekend to compete in the Oregon Invitational. Standout Danielle Ayers-Stamper won the elite section of the women’s 100-meter hurdles and several other Falcons recorded personal best and season best marks in their respective events.

The annual invitational featured a day session and an evening elite section, both of which included SPU athletes.

Ayers-Stamper bested a host of division I athletes with a time of 14:04 seconds in the hurdles. She also came away with second place in the high-jump.

The junior continues to have success and improve marks almost at a weekly pace. Coach Jack Hoyt explained that Ayers-Stamper has yet to realize some of her potential in certain events.

"Danielle’s biggest improvements in the future will be in the shot [put] and javelin and she has a lot of room to grow in those events," Hoyt said.

The bright lights brought out the best in the men’s 4×400 meter relay team which broke a five-year-old record, crossing the line in 3:18.05 and shaving more than a second and a half off of the school record. The team consisted of seniors Paul Mach and Kurt Engelson, junior Chris Randolph, and sophomore Eddie Strickler.

The men have not run together very much, and according to Hoyt they can continue to lower their mark as the handoffs improve and as the men get into even better shape.

Karen Dickson and Tim LeCount have carried over their success from the cross country team in the fall to the track in the spring. Dickson qualified provisionally in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:59.43. She is already automatically qualified for the 10,000 meters.

LeCount, who just last week broke the school’s 10,000-meter record, lowered it by five more seconds this weekend, and inched within three seconds of a provisional qualifying time.

Junior Amy Harris placed fourth in the elite pole vault with a jump of 11-feet-eight-and-a-half inches, while sophomore Kinyatta Leonhardt placed seventh in the featured 400 meters.

In the day session, rain showered the athletes but it didn’t stop Jean Kolb, Josie Lavin, Jennifer Marsh, and Karin Rhode from recording their season-best times in their events.

Randolph jumped an outdoor personal record of 21 feet in the long jump and Mach won the 800 in a time of 1:53.66.

The women’s team has grown from a young, inexperienced group into a mature veteran collection of talent that is realizing its potential.

"The women’s team is very good, one of the best." Hoyt said. "We’ll have to see what happens at the end of the year. They could be the best."

Regardless of whether or not the team is the best, Hoyt expects more personal records to be set by his athletes in the next couple weeks.

The team will compete in a twilight meet up in Bellingham over the weekend. In addition, the conference finals in the heptathlon and decathlon took place yesterday and Monday and the results will be featured in next week’s article.

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Title: ‘They could be the best’ | Author: Grant Ludwick | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2005-04-27 | Internal ID: 4499