Falcons take fourth at GNAC

Brannan, Charelson, Markham make nationals

An SPU woman track athlete turns the corner on a purple track at the University of Washington. She is followed closely behind by another SPU runner.

Luis Arellanes | The Falcon
Senior Hannah Calvert runs the steeplechase with fellow senior Sarah Macdonald close behind.

Senior Kyra Brannan started off the 2017 GNAC Outdoor Championships strong for the Falcons this past Friday, May 12, with a first-place finish in the women’s long jump where she leaped to 18-11¼.
Held at the McArthur Field on the Western Oregon University campus in Monmouth, Oregon, the SPU women’s team took home fourth place after both Friday’s and Saturday’s events. Brannan put the Falcons on the right path after her success in the long jump.
“I stayed with the confidence that I know I can jump far enough to take over first place, and keeping that mindset, I was able to take home the title with my fifth jump,” Brannan said.
Brannan, the No. 18 seed in the long jump, will be competing in the event at the 2017 GNAC National Outdoor Championships next week.
Teammate sophomore Geneva Lehnert came close behind with 18-4 ¼ claiming second place overall.
“That was a really cool feeling, especially since I knew then that my teammate [Lehnert] and I would take first and second place,” Brannan said.
First-years Brooke Benner and Scout Cai also competed in the long jump taking 14th and 15th place, jumping to 16-2 ¼ and 15-11 respectively.
Senior Sammi Markham also had a successful Friday. She placed ninth in the shot put with a 40-2 ¾ and claimed the No. 13 spot in the discus with 113-9 ½.
The Falcons had four athletes compete and place in the pole vault. Senior Michaella Kahns took fourth reaching 11-0 ¼. Teammates sophomore Emma Lambert, Cai and first-year Ryleigh Crenshaw went sixth, seventh, and eighth in the event clearing 10-6 ¾, 10-6 ¾, and 10-0 ¾ respectively.
In the long-distance events, first-year Sedona McNerney placed 12th in the 10,000-meter race.
Senior Hannah Calvert and junior Hailey Kettel both took part in the 3,000-steeplechase claiming sixth place and ninth place respectively. Calvert crossed the finish line at 11:23.16 while teammate Kettel finished at 11:37.63.
The preliminaries were also on Friday for the sprinting races and hurdles. The Falcons that qualified for Saturday’s finals was Brannan in the 100-meters, first-year Lani Taylor in the 200 and 400 races, junior Chynna Phan in the 800 and Benner in the 400 hurdles.
For the men’s team, Friday of the GNAC championships were also successful for a few athletes. Junior Peyton Harris took home bronze in the long jump with a 22-11 ¾.
Two other Falcons qualified for Saturday’s finals. Sophomore Jesse Phan qualified for the 800, and Harris in the 110 hurdles.
On Saturday, the women had a lot of individuals score in order to help the women’s team achieve fourth place overall.
To start off the sprinting races, Brannan came in sixth in the 100 meter with a time of 12.47.
Taylor finished seventh in the 200 with 25.78. She also completed in the 400 placing fourth and crossing the finish line at 55.87.
In the long-distance races, junior Mary Charleson placed third in the 1,500-meter race within a time of 4:36.65. Phan also scored in the event taking sixth and crossing the finish line at 4:39.24. Teammates first-year Kate Lilly and Calvert came in 10th and 13th in the event finishing with 4:47.64 and 4:51.98 respectively.
Charleson also had success in the 5,000-meter race. She came in second place overall with a time of 17:31.60. First-year Alyssa Foote was right behind Charleson with a time of 17:31.76 claiming third place. Senior Sarah McDonald followed Foote finished in fourth with 17:35.64.
Charleson, the No. 14 seed, will be competing in the 5,000 meters at nationals.
Both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays scored points for the women’s team. In the 4×100, the team of junior Becca Houk, Cai, Brannan and Taylor claimed third with a time of 48.47.
In the 4×400, the team of Brannan, Cai, Bennner and Taylor finished fifth with a time of 3:54.28.
“The last race for me was the 4×4 and knowing it would be my last race in my sprinting spikes was definitely scary and wonderful,” Brannan said. “Starting off the 4×4 I just wanted to have a great leg and set up the team in a good place. I really feel that I ran as best as I could during that race, and that last 400 was something that I can definitely be proud of ending on.”
The high jump was also a high scoring opportunity for the Falcons as they claimed fourth, fifth, and eighth places. Benner led the way with a 5-4 ½ and got fourth overall. Teammate Lehnert was right behind Benner with a 5-2 ½ and fifth place. Cai tied for eighth in the event with a 5-2 ½ mark.
Markham finished her meet with a tenth-place finish in the javelin throwing 132-2 feet.
Markham, seeded No. 11, will be throwing javelin at nationals.
Although no first-years have made it to nationals, Brannan is hopeful for the future for them.
“We have a strong group of [first-years] this year,” Brannan said. “It has been so awesome to see them all compete and see the potential in each and every one of them. They are going to start a new era for one heck of a track team and I cannot wait to see how unstoppable they will be.”
“The girls’ team went out strong this past GNAC Championship,” Brannan continued. “This year we have had lots of injuries and sickness, but through it all, every single girl fought through it as much as they could and really gave the best performance to their abilities.”
For the men’s team on Saturday’s events, Phan claimed sixth place with a time of 1:55.80 in the 800.
Harris finished fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.30 seconds.
“I am happy about how I competed,” Harris said. “I wasn’t able to get some of the same results I have seen in the past, but I was still happy to get on the podium in long jump and finish above my projected placing in the 110 hurdles.”
Both relays, 4×100 and 4×400, each claimed eighth place. The 4×100 made up of first-year Shayne Carpenter, Ramsey, first-year David Choi, and Harris finished the event in 44.30.
The team of first-year Lazarus Scarbrough, Phan, Harris, and Ramsey crossed the finish line in 3:27.63 in the 4×400 relay.
“We had a lot of grit this weekend despite the weather being so adverse,” Harris said. “We performed up to our expectations and were able to power through tough situations we were put in.”
Charleson, Brannan and Markham will all compete at the 2017 NCAA DII Track and Field Championships in Bradenton, Florida starting next Thursday, May 25, and concluding the 2017 season.

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