The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Senior Katie Thralls won the 10,000-meter run by more than 35 seconds on Saturday at the UPS Preview. It was Thralls’ first time competing in the event.
Photo credit: CURTIS SIMPSON IV/The Falcon.
Six Falcons earn GNAC berths in two separate meets
By JACKSON FELTS, Staff Reporter
Published: March 6, 2013
It only took one race for senior runner Katie Thralls to have a guaranteed spot at the conference championships in May.
At Saturday’s UPS Outdoor Preview, Thralls took place in the longest event of her college career, the 10,000-meter run. Not only did she finish first by more than 35 seconds, she claimed an automatic qualifying time for the Outdoor GNAC Championships in Oregon in May.
In a race that includes 25 laps around a 400-meter track, stamina and endurance is paramount for competitors.
“It felt good,” Thralls said. “I had to trust what other people had told me and go off what coaches say.”
While Thralls and most of the SPU track and field team began their season Saturday in Tacoma, redshirt senior Ali Worthen and senior Nate Johnson started their season at the Chico Multi-Event Classic Thursday and Friday in Chico, Calif.
Worthen dominated the competition, accumulating a score of 5,243 in the heptathlon. The second place finisher, Robin Hannah of Chico State, finished with 4,482.
“It’s very encouraging,” SPU track and field head coach Karl Lerum said. “There’s room left to improve … We’ll work on expanding her training volume with strength and fitness.”
Despite being 54 points below her personal best, set in a third-place finish at last year’s national championships, Worthen’s final score in Chico is 43 points higher than the automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Division II Championships in Colorado from May 23-25.
Worthen is SPU’s first lock this season for the national championships and joins five Falcons who hit GNAC provisional and automatic qualifying marks Saturday in Tacoma. The others were Thralls, sophomore Kelsey Chase, and seniors Trinna Miranda, Ryan Endresen and Ray Zoelick.
Provisional marks were hit by Chase in the 100-meter dash, Miranda in the long jump, Endresen in 110-meter hurdles and Zoelick in the pole vault. Automatic levels were reached by Thralls, Worthen and Endresen in the 400-meter hurdles.
While the GNAC automatic time is good, Thralls will look to race the 10,000 again for a chance at reaching nationals.
“My coach told me to ‘run and feel God’s pleasure,’” Thralls said. “I approach each race as an opportunity to do my best.”
In addition, seniors AJ Baker and Will Harrison made their return to outdoor track in the 1500 meter run. Both are adjusting to outdoor after an indoor season that featured performances in the 3000- and 5000-meter runs.
“It hurt a lot,” Baker said. “Nothing injury-wise, but it felt like I had ice water in my chest.”
Baker, who also ran the 800-meter run, finished the 1500 in 4:04.20, less than four seconds from a GNAC provisional qualifying time.
Harrison finished right behind him in the 1500 with a time of 4:05.48.
“We did this race today to mix up the races,” Harrison said. “Training is still going well … My confidence is fine.”
In total, the SPU track and field team came up short, finishing fourth with 35 points in the four-school event.
Western Washington came in first with 65.
According to Lerum, the UPS Outdoor Preview was a “bridge” between the indoor and outdoor season, and times will improve as the weather warms throughout spring.
“This whole meet gives us a chance to run our athletes in events they don’t commonly run,” Lerum said.
For six Falcon runners, the indoor season has not yet ended. The indoor national championships take place from March 7-9 in Birmingham, Ala.
SPU competitors include senior McKayla Fricker and freshman Lynelle Decker in the 800, senior Katy Gross in the pentathlon, and the 4x400 relay team of Fricker, sophomore Jasmine Johnson, junior Kishia Mitchell and senior Emily Quatier.
After a week off, the outdoor season will resume with meets in Eugene, Ore., at the Oregon Preview on March 16; the Trojan Invite in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 23; and the Club Northwest Spring Break Open on March 30.