SPU takes second and third in GNAC Multi-Event Championship

Moving on up. Many of the Seattle Pacific University track and field athletes improved their rankings and personal best records this past weekend at two separate events. In addition, three SPU women athletes competed in the GNAC Multi-Event Championships in a two-day event this past Monday and Tuesday.

In the first meet, three SPU women competed in the Oregon State High Performance track meet in Corvallis, Oregon on Friday, April 28.

“The meet in Corvallis was not our average track meet, just because we only had three of us racing,” junior Mary Charleson said. “It was awesome to get the opportunity to race in such competitive meet … SPU performed really well, with two PRs [personal records] and one season PR.”

Charleson and first-year Kate Lilly ran impressive races in the 1,500 meters, notable because they were the only two DII runners in a race that consisted of mostly DI athletes. Lilly placed 29th out of 48 runners, with a personal-best time of 4:34.65.

“[Lilly] ran with an excellent kick,” Charleson said. “She always finds a way to pass runners at the end because she is a fierce competitor and has a lot of foot-speed. [Lily] is continually improving and is someone people will have to watch out for in our conference, doing so well as just a [first-year].”

Charleson ran for a personal-best time of four minutes, 29.53 seconds in the 1,500 meters, finishing 20th out of 48. This solid performance moved her up to No. 19 on the NCAA provisional qualifying list.

SPU senior Sarah Macdonald also ran a solid race in the 5,000. Her time of 17:17.21 made national provisional qualifying time.

“[Macdonald] ran extremely tough and focused,” Charleson said. “The 5k is an extremely taxing race, and [Macdonald] was clicking with the pace she wanted to run from the start. She’s hoping to get an all-time-best at Conference, and I believe the race in Corvalis set her up to do just that.”

In the second meet of the weekend, both the SPU men and women traveled to Bellingham, Washington to compete in the Ralph Vernacchia Track & Field Meet Invitational this past Saturday, April 29.

“In my opinion, the entire team performed well” junior Ben Halliday said. “There were multiple season bests as well as lifetime bests posted, which always tells you that the meet has gone well.”

The highlight performance of Saturday’s meet was by senior Sammi Markham. Her javelin throw of 146 feet, 11 inches placed her third in the meet; a throw that beat her previous personal best by nearly eight feet. The phenomenal throw moved her up to the No. 12 spot on the provisional qualifying list.

In addition, Markham finished second in the shot put at 41-8 3/4.

“It was great to see that because she’s always dedicated to the process and works as hard as anyone on the team,” Halliday said.

Halladay also had a good performance, finishing 12th in the men’s 1,500 meters. Halliday ran a personal record of 4:00.75.

“The meet went well for myself,” Halliday said. “I think I got out hard and was able to hold on very well towards the end. If anything, I would’ve liked to beat just a few more people from our conference, but overall it was a successful meet.”

Both Senior Hannah Calvert (4:40.08) and first-year Alyssa Foote (4:41.72) ran personal records in the women’s 1,500.

Yet another good performance took place on Saturday by junior Joseph Walker, who ran a 34:28.58 in the 10,000 meters, moving him up to the 18th spot on the conference list.

In the last of the events to take place, first-years Scout Cai and Brooke Benner and sophomore Geneva Lehart competed in the GNAC Multi-Event Championships at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

“We have put a lot of hours into preparing for the next couple days,” Lehnert said.

That preparation appeared to have paid off. Cai who has a PR total of 4,894 points, placed second overall, and Benner, who has a PR total of 4,579 points, placed third overall, earning 14 team points for SPU’s overall total toward the GNAC to get into the Outdoor Championships on May 12-13.

Unfortunately, Lehnert was battling an illness on both days. Still, she was able to finish 10th.

“I’ve been working since the beginning of the season on events involving the heptathlon,” Benner said. “I enjoy how the [heptathlon] has so many events, so it keeps [things] interesting and exciting.”

Next up for the Falcons is the Ken Shannon Invitational in their final meet of the regular season on Saturday, May 6, at the University of Washington’s Husky Track.

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