Although not competing as a full squad, the men’s and women’s track teams put forth a valiant effort in their first outdoor track meet of the season.
Leading the Falcons this past Saturday at the Ed Boitano/Puget Sound Invitational in Tacoma was senior Michaella Kahns, first-year Ryleigh Crenshaw and sophomore Emma Lambert. They claimed the top three spots in the pole vault, with Kahns and Crenshaw both clearing 10-11 ¾ and Lambert making the 10-6 mark.
Also coming out on top was junior Hailey Kettel who competed in the 3000-meter steeplechase for the first time ever. Kettel broke the 12-minute mark finishing with a time of 11:58.06.
First-years Scout Cai and Brooke Benner, sophomore Geneva Lehnert and senior Sammi Markham all competed in an event new to them: the javelin. Cai threw for a noteworthy 130 feet, which is just two and a half feet shy of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Markham threw for 125-3 while Lehnert and Benner were close behind throwing 91 feet and 79-9 feet respectively.
“The other heptathletes [Lehnert and Benner] and I only threw the javelin and did the hurdles just to gain experience,” Cai said. “It was a laid back meet just to get experience for our upcoming meet in Sacramento.”
The women’s team scored 77 points, putting them in fourth place at the meet.
For the men’s team, junior Peyton Harris finished second in the 110 meter hurdles, clocking in at 15.68. Teammate first-year Shayne Carpenter was close behind with a time of 16.51.
“I have a lot of goals and expectations for the end of the season, so staying consistent in my training and trusting that my coaches will prepare me to achieve these goals is important for performing well in big meets throughout the season,” Harris said.
The team of seniors David McLeod and Justin Ramsey, first-year Lazarus Scarbrough and Harris finished second at the invitational in the 4×400 relay, clocking in at 3:30.19.
The 4×100 relay team made up of Carpenter, Ramsey, first-year David Choi and Harris also had some success this weekend claiming third place and stopping the clock at 45.38.
“The 4×100 was a little rough on the basis that we had not practiced our handoffs very extensively,” Harris said. “Despite almost getting disqualified for handing off the baton outside of the exchange zone, our time was decent and can definitely be improved.”
The men’s team finished the meet in sixth place putting up 55 total points.
“The great thing about it is that everybody gets a chance to compete and get an outdoor race under their belt without a great deal of pressure,” Harris said. “It is especially important for some of the less experienced guys on the team because it feels similar to a high school meet where they have more than likely experienced in the past. This takes the pressure off of a high-quality performance and puts the emphasis on giving maximal effort in every event.”
The Falcons will get a small break and resume competing in two weeks. A select group of runners will be attending the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento on Friday and Saturday, March 17-18, while the rest of the team will travel to Portland on March 18 to compete in the Lewis & Clark Invitational.