She stood in front of the 9 foot, 8 inch bar, pole in her hand, took deep breath and exhaled. Her confidence wasn’t all there—it was a little bit shaken, having competed so few times. She took the running start, planted the pole, launched herself over the bar, and landed safe on the other side.
Freshman Michaella Kahns had just qualified for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) provisional list in her second meet of the season.
“It was good,” said Kahns. “I’m glad I qualified on the first jump.”
Kahns completed this feat at Civic Stadium, located in Bellingham, where the Seattle Pacific track & field team had its latest meet on Saturday.
Kahns had suffered a muscle strain ranging from her hip flexor to her knee earlier in the season, and has been slowly working her way back into the season, only being able to compete in one other meet.
“It affected [my] confidence,” Kahns said. “[It’s getting] better and [I’m] being able to train again and get up to those heights.”
One thing that helped her confidence in this particular meet is the fact that she grew up just south of Bellingham, in Burlington. She has seen many of the faces that she was competing against and has competed in the stadium many times before.
“I’ve been there and [knowing] the vaulters [helps],” Kahns said. “Some of the girls I vaulted with in high school.”
However, Kahns was not the only main story from the Falcons’ meet in Bellingham. Another highlight was Kyra Brannan, also a freshman, who set a new personal record [PR] in the 100 at 12.37 seconds. This got her an automatic qualification into the GNAC meet.
“It felt great,” Brannan said. “Having that automatic qualification is a good measure of where I’m standing.”
Brannan has been on fire lately, as this is the third PR she has set in the last two weeks.
Her other two consist of the long jump, in which she also qualified for the GNAC meet with a jump of 18 feet, 14 inches, and the 200 with a time of 25.69 seconds.
If some is good, more is better. And the Falcons got much more during this meet, as in both the 100 and the 200 meter races, the Falcons took first and second, with Brannan finishing first in the 100 and junior Tasia Baldwin coming in second.
In the 200, it was senior Kishia Mitchell finishing first, with Baldwin right behind her by two tenths of a second as 25.26.
“I think it felt good,” head coach Karl Lerum said. “The effort was outstanding.”
All this came when the conditions necessarily ideal. As Bellingham threw its signature weather at the athletes – lots of wind and rain.
“The conditions were cold and windy,” Lerum said. “The athletes [weren’t] looking for that.”
With athletes overcoming injures, a flock of Falcons getting new personal records, and more GNAC qualifications, it was all in all a great meet for SPU.
And it came at an extremely critical time as the track season is coming to close with only the GNAC Multi-Championships and the final meet – the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey on May 3.
The Multi-Event Championships will take place at Central Washington University and three freshmen, Maddi Hommes, Cheryl Hong and Ali Sowers will compete in the heptathlon.
That just leaves the Saint Martin’s Invitational for the Falcons to make their final mark.
“We are all pulling together now,” Kahns said. “[We are] making sure we have what we need and [are making] improvements to technique.”