Falcons ready for GNAC championships

SPU women jump to No. 9

Luis Arellanes | The Falcon
First-year Lani Taylor sprints the 4x100m dash along with teammates junior Becca Houk, first-year Scout Cai, senior Kyra Brannan to a 48.25 finish.

At their last regular outdoor track meet of the season, the Falcons put forth one last effort before heading into the GNAC championships this coming Friday and Saturday.

This past Saturday, May 6, the Falcons competed in the Ken Shannon Invitational at the University of Washington’s outdoor track.

The women’s team was led by junior Chynna Phan and senior Sammi Markham, who both claimed NCAA provisional marks.

Phan ran the 800-meter clocking in at 2:12.23 and taking fourth place honors. Markham threw the javelin for 141 feet and 10 inches, claiming third.

“My personal goals for conference would be first of all to make it to finals in the 800,” Phan said. “After that, I just want to go out there and compete and be tough, as tough as I can in every race to try to score as many points as possible for the women’s team.”

Junior Mary Charleson also competed in the 800, which was the first time since her first year on the track team. She took sixth place overall with a 2:14.28. This time also makes the GNAC automatic qualifying standard.

First-year Lani Taylor also put in a strong effort this past weekend in the 400-meter dash. She came in third place with a time of 56.27, which is a GNAC automatic qualifying time.

The team of junior Becca Houk, first-year Scout Cai, senior Kyra Brannan and Taylor took third place overall in the 4×100 relay. They clocked in at 48.25 seconds.

Brannan also put out a GNAC automatic qualifying mark in the long jump. She leaped to 18-6 ½ feet and took second at the meet.

Markham performed exceptionally in two additional events as well. She took fourth in the shot put reaching 39-10. Then Markham claimed fifth in the discus throwing for 119-10.

“My goal is to PR in all three of my events, but ultimately I just want to place as high as possible in each event to score points for the team,” Markham said. “I also want to stay relaxed and not allow myself to overthink while competing, because that’s when I struggle.”

In the long distance races, first-year Alyssa Foote finished the 1,500-meter in 4:42.12, which was good enough for 11th place overall. Teammates senior Hannah Calvert, senior Sarah McDonald, first-year Katherine Walter and junior Hailey Kettel also competed in this event claiming 14th, 15th, 18th and 20th place respectively.

The SPU women’s team reached No. 9 in this week’s West Region rankings, which is put together by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

“The goal is always that our team would get first place, but mainly we are just excited to compete at GNAC because it’s all about the team,” Markham said. “Mostly, this meet was treated as a tune up before we head to GNAC, and based on the performances it looks like we’re on the right track to do well as a team.”

The men’s team was led by junior Ben Halladay, who came up with his best 1,500-meter race of his life. He clocked in at 3:59.12 and took 17th place overall.

Senior Justin Ramsey came up with another PR in the 400-meter race. He won his heat with a time of 49.54 seconds and placed fifth overall in the event. Ramsey is now No. 14 on the GNAC list in the 400.

The team of first-year Lazarus Scarbrough, sophomore Jesse Phan, junior Peyton Harris and Ramsey improved dramatically in the 4×400 relay. The Falcons finished in 3:23.12, taking first place on Saturday. They also moved up from No. 8 on the GNAC list to No. 5.

The 4×100 relay was also a successful event for the Falcon men. The team of first-year Shayne Carpenter, Ramsey, first-year David Choi and Harris took second place on Saturday with a time of 44.26 seconds.

Harris also competed in the long jump for the Falcons, leaping to fifth place overall with a 22-2 ½ feet mark.

“I’m confident we all put in our best effort heading into the meet at UW this weekend,” first-year Christian Wong said. “I think that having the mindset of ‘this is our last meet of the season’ spurred us to prepare and train with a greater sense of intentionality. So, overall I think we had a pretty good performance to end our regular season.”

Wong also reflected on the season as a whole. “It was really cool to see how much of our training from the past few months has paid off,” Wong said.

The GNAC Championships is May 12 and 13 at the McArthur Field on the Western Oregon University campus in Monmouth. On Friday the field events begin at 2 p.m. and races on the track start at 2:45 pm. On Saturday, field events will start at 10 a.m. and running events at 12 p.m.

 

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