The post-season for Seattle Pacific women’s track and field team officially began on April 27 with the GNAC multi-event championships in Lacey, Washington, at Saint Martin’s University.
The Falcons came in with high hopes that their two competing athletes would earn the team points toward the conference championships.
“We are officially in championship season,” head coach Karl Lerum said. “This [meet] is counted toward the conference championships, and we have two good athletes.”
Junior Maliea Luquin and sophomore Maddi Hommes competed in the heptathlon on Monday and Tuesday, and it’s safe to say the team’s hopes were not too high to be achieved.
Luquin finished third overall with a score of 4,584, a new personal best. This beat her previous total of 4,522, which she achieved at the Sam Adams Combined Events. The total score earned her an NCAA provisional score. The highlight of Luquin’s events may have been the 800 meters, where she ran the two laps in 2 minutes, 20.24 seconds. This beat her personal best of 2:21.17.
Hommes also performed well for the Falcons. She won the javelin event, which boosted her to 4,381 points and earned her a sixth place overall finish.
Before the solid start to the championship season, the Falcons had a busy weekend as they sent runners to both Bellingham, Washington, and San Diego, California. for the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational and the Triton Invitational on April 25.
“We are always hoping for the same thing [when we go to meets],” Lerum said. “Prepare ourselves for the conference championships and better [overall] marks. And I think we did that.”
The highlight of the Bellingham meet may well have been freshman Mary Charleson and sophomore Hannah Calvert. Both athletes ran the 5,000 meters race for the first time. They finished in the top 12, Charleson in ninth place with a time of 18:07.96 and Calvert crossing the finish line in 18:14.57. Both had only run the 5,000 in cross-country before this meet.
“We asked Hannah and Mary if they wanted to give the [5,000] a shot,” Lerum said. “They came out and did a nice job.”
Freshman and Bellingham native Chynna Phan also recorded her first ever college victory in the 800. She finished with a time of 2:16.78, almost two seconds faster than the second place finisher behind her.
“She led the race wire to wire,” Lerum said. “That’s her best race this season. She is going to have a good career, and she has a couple more races left in her this year.”
There were far fewer women racing down in San Diego at the Triton Invitational. Freshman Becca Houk, recognized as this week’s GNAC Athlete of the Week, wowed in the 100 meters, finishing 10th with a time of 12.05 seconds, good enough for an automatic GNAC qualifying time.
The 4×100 relay team consisting of Houk, junior Jahzelle Ambus, sophomore Kyra Brannan and senior Tasia Baldwin finished fourth with a time of 47.31.
Next up for the Falcons is a light weekend. They compete in just one meet on May 2, the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey, Washington. Field events start at 10 a.m. and track events at 11 a.m. After that, all eyes look to the GNAC Championships next weekend.