Track races to finish line, stays hopeful

Falcons have much success in California

Courtesy of Andrew Towell
Junior Peyton Harris competes in long jump and hurdles.

With NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships next month, things are looking good for the Falcon track teams since many have posted NCAA provisional marks and personal bests this season.

The men’s and women’s track teams both travelled to California this past weekend for two separate meets over a span of three days.

Starting things off for the Falcons was junior Mary Charleson on Thursday night in the 5,000-meter race. Charleson posted a time of 16:41.59, passing the NCAA provisional qualifying time. Not only does this time allow her to qualify, it puts her as the fifth best in all of Division II 5,000-meter athletes.

First-year Alyssa Foote also competed in the 5,000 Thursday evening and crossed the finish line at 17:25.78. This time qualified Foote for the USA Track & Field Junior National meet in Sacramento, California in June.

Junior Nationals is for athletes who are at least 14 years old but less than 20.

Surprisingly, this was only Foote’s second time running the 5,000 on an actual track, and improvement is on her horizon.

“Currently, I am a little over four seconds from the NCAA provisional mark in the 5,000 meters, so that is my next goal for the 5,000,” Foote said.

Friday was a big day for the Falcons. Six athletes posted NCAA provisional marks.

These six included first-year Lani Taylor in the 400-meter dash, first-year Scout Cai in the pole vault, junior Chynna Phan in the 800 meter, Charleson in the 1,500 meter, senior Kyra Brannan in the long jump and senior Michaella Kahns in the pole vault as well.

Cai tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 12-6 ¼ while Kahns went 11-10 ½ taking 18th place.

Taylor, Cai, Phan and Kahns all recorded personal bests with each of their individual performances.

Other notable performances included sophomore Geneva Lehnert setting a career best in the long jump with 18-4 ½, first-year Brooke Benner went 36-7 ¾ in the triple jump for a PR, first-year Kate Lilly cut two seconds off her 1,500-meter race with a 4:34.65 and senior Sarah Macdonald and Phan also PR’d in the 1,500.

For the men’s team, senior Justin Ramsey ran his best 400-meter race ever, clocking in at 49.65. Possibly Ramsey’s biggest highlight of the day was getting under 23 seconds in the men’s 200-meter dash for the first time. He finished the race in 22.99.

Sophomore Jesse Phan also set a personal record in the men’s 800, posting a 1:54.48. His previous best was a 1:54.65, which happened last March in his second college race.

The following day at the Beach Invitational, Lehnert and junior Peyton Harris both jumped to career-best long jumps as well as adding themselves to the NCAA qualifying list. Lehnert leaped for 18-10 ½ while Harris notched a 23-7 ½ in the women’s and men’s long jumps respectively.

This past Saturday’s meet in Long Beach, California was also a success for Taylor who became a NCAA provisional qualifier the day before in the 400-meter dash at the Bryan Clay Invitational.

Taylor clocked in at 55.93. She improved that time on Saturday by shaving off 11 seconds to make 55.84. Since the start of outdoor season, Taylor has dropped time in all three of her events.

“I ran a 55 [second] in the 400-meter in high school, but I hurt my knee and am trying to recover and get back to 55 again,” she said. “There were so many PRs all over the place this past weekend. My goal is to continue to get faster for a spot at nationals.

Brannan also came up with a personal-best on Saturday in the 200-meter dash. She stopped the clock at 12.10 seconds.

Junior Becca Houk posted two season-bests in her two races. She clocked in at 12.47 in the 100-meter and 25.70 in the 200-meter. Her 100-meter time is eligible for the GNAC automatic qualifying standard.

The Falcons will return to Washington next Saturday to compete in Ellensburg at the Spike Arlt Invitational.

Field events begin at 10 a.m. and races at 11 a.m. at Tomlinson Stadium on Central Washington University’s campus.

This article was posted in the section Sports.

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