NAMPA – (Feb. 24) Two bronze medals and two broken school records in four events.
That’s one way to show up for Day 2 of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho.
The Redhawk track and field team came to compete after watching teammate Mandie Maddux take home gold in the pentathlon on Day 1.
“Shannan, Mandy, Siobhan, and Becca came together this evening and ran a strong relay,” head coach Trisha Steidl said. “It was great to see those ladies work so well together and come away with a medal tonight.”
Matthew Seidel also earned a bronze medal by finishing the 5,000 with a time of 14:59.10.
“I'm really proud of Matt. He has been working his way back, mentally and physically, from an injury he sustained over the summer,” Steidl said. “It was great to see him put it all together today to earn a medal. He has proven he's a gritty racer and it was great to see that fully back out on the track tonight.”
Chay Weaver scored for the team by placing seventh in the same event with a time of 15:10.53.
In the women’s 5,000, Olivia Stein also scored for the team by placing in eighth with a time of 17:47.40.
“Olivia and Chay each ran really strong today,” Steidl said. “Olivia's been working on getting uncomfortable and really getting after it in races and I saw some of that from her today that I haven't seen in the past. It was a great day for her to bring that out and she raced very well. Chay showed his toughness yet again as he continued to battle throughout the race for position and place. His last 150 meters or less showed how much he wanted to finish as best as he could for his team.”
A major lesson was also learned during Day 2 of the WAC Championships.
Caylah Lunning can fly.
Lunning, a freshman, soared as she broke two school records and set another personal record.
The first school record she broke was in the air as she took down the 6-year-old indoor long jump record by posting a mark of 5.60m (18-4.5) to finish in fifth place.
Lunning went on to break the indoor school record in the 200-meter dash, last set in 2014. She finished with a time of 25.65 to write her name in the record books.
Lunning also set a personal record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 8.11.
“Caylah crushed it today,” assistant coach Chad Pharis said. “She unfortunately missed her final jump in the finals for long jump as the 60-meter prelims coincided with it, but she competed very hard in both. She built on each jump, stayed focused after a scratch on her second attempt, and capped of the prelims with a school record and a personal record.”
Steidl echoed this excitement for Lunning’s record-setting performances.
“Caylah had a great day! She competed well, look strong doing so, and came away with not only personal records and school records, but also scored points for the team,” Steidl said.
Day 2 was mainly a day of preliminary races where the Redhawks fought to grab their spot in the finals to be held on Saturday.
To no one’s surprise, many succeeded.
In the women’s mile prelims, four Redhawks qualified: Anastasia Honea with a personal record (5:05.01), Lila Rice (5:08.45), Moira O’Connor Lenth (5:08.91), and Johanna Erickson also with a personal record (5:08.92).
“You always hope everyone will qualify for the finals, but the chances of that are slim,” Steidl said. “This year I actually thought everyone could and they almost did!”
The five women in the mile, an event Steidl said was tough this year, competed fiercely. The fifth Redhawk, Lassere (5:17.10), had been battling a sickness she had come down with a few days ago. Despite that, she still fought hard, and although it wasn’t enough to move on in the mile, Steidl said it was fortunate she could come back and help the DMR team earn third place.
“I'm excited to see everyone who qualified for the finals compete tomorrow,” Steidl said. “They all have an opportunity to place well. It's going to be fun to watch.”
In the men’s mile prelims, Jacques Hebert qualified for finals with a time of 4:25.90.
In the men’s 400 prelims, Janzen Aguilar-Nelson set a new indoor personal record of 49.31 to qualify for the finals.
“Janzen ran the perfect race,” Pharis said. “He stayed relaxed, trusted his race plan, and is in the finals as a result. He now has some experience on a 200-meter banked track and should be in a great position to capitalize on that experience tomorrow in the finals.”
Siobhan Rubio qualified in the women’s 800 prelims with a time of 2:20.44.
There were multiple personal records set by Redhawk student-athletes in preliminary sprint events, and despite not being quite fast enough to qualify for the finals, were something to be proud of accomplishing.
“The sprints in our conference are quite strong,” Pharis said. “We had a lot of personal records today that didn’t quite get us to finals, and others ran very consistent races, which shows they are ready to have that breakthrough very shortly. I am proud of the effort showed today. We are a young team for the most part, so the experience and the personal records will be a great foundation for many of them to continue to build on.”
As the Redhawks head into the final day of the WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, there is plenty to look forward to given the bold performances over the first two days.
“I was happy with what I saw from the team today,” Steidl said. “I saw people putting their best out there and making the most of what they had on the day, even when they weren't feeling as good as they had hoped or things weren't going as well as they would've liked. Competing well requires being a mature athlete, and to be a mature athlete, you've got to be able to put your best self out there no matter what. I'm seeing that happen more and more as the season continues. I'm excited to see everyone compete tomorrow. It's going to be a great day for the Redhawks!”