EDINBURG – (May 13) Three silver medals, two bronze medals, and another broken school record marked the final day of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the Redhawks in Edinburg, Tex.
After four days of gritty performances, the Seattle U track and field team can leave Edinburg feeling proud of themselves.
"The team was focused and smart dealing with the heat. Going to a climate that is so different and significantly hotter than anything we've experienced all year could've been disastrous, but they prepared well coming into and at the meet," head coach Trisha Steidl said.
"I'm thrilled by everyone who medaled today" Steidl said. "They raced with heart and determination."
Abby Wachter capitalized on a great race in the preliminaries on Friday to shine in the 400 meter hurdles in the finals on Saturday. Wachter not only broke her own school record in the event with a time of 1:02.12, but that time was also good for a second place finish and silver medal.
“Abby had an outstanding day,” assistant coach Chad Pharis said. “She has been trending towards a fast time as she continues to learn the race. She executed the race plan and competed the entire race. It was a gutsy run and she earned her medal!”
Steidl was also happy to see all of Wachter's hard work this season pay off.
"Abby has been building to this point as the season went on and it was great to see her race so strong and with such confidence," Steidl said.
In the 800 meters, Siobhan Rubio grabbed a bronze medal of her own with a time of 2:13.98.
In the women's 5000 meters, Moira O'Connor Lenth grabbed silver with a time of 17:32.58.
Lila Rice took bronze in the 1500 meters with a personal record time of 4:33.78.
"Lila ran a strong, smart race. It was a terrific race by her," Steidl said. "I would never have expected her to run a PR in the Conference final, especially with how hot it was, but she did! You can't ask for more than that! This was a great way for her to close out her collegiate career."
Also in the 1500, Jacques Hebert grabbed silver with a time of 4:01.90.
"Being the defending champion from last year and indoor, Jacques had the expectation of himself to continue that streak," Steidl said. "Winning is never guaranteed and the competition was strong. The overall tactics of the race didn't play fully to his strengths. He was prepared for the race to go as it did and ran it well, but it wasn't quite enough. He lost to a strong competitor and he's had a fantastic season. I think he will harness this and use it for even more motivation going forward. Earning silver is something to be proud of. He's had a great season."
The Seattle U track and field team head back to Seattle to rest up and prepare to say goodbye to their senior class. Three of those seniors (Maddux, Rice, O'Connor Lenth) capped off their careers with medals at the 2017 WAC Outdoor Championships.
Pharis is proud of what he saw out of the team during the Championships.
“The team competed great this week,” Pharis said. “We had a few come up shorter than they wanted, a few injuries holding us back, but everyone showed a lot of heart and dedication towards ending the year on a high note. We grew a lot in this meet. I'm incredibly thankful for our seniors. They continued to pave the way on this journey to where we want to be as a program.”
After reflecting on the four days of competition, Steidl is proud of the seniors on the team and also looks forward to seeing the program continue to progress as their confidence in their performances rises.
"Our seniors competed very well. They showed how valuable experience is and also what is possible when you work hard and dedicate yourself year after year," Steidl said. "There is a lot to be proud of coming out of this meet and there is a lot to continue to strive for as we continue to increase our expectations."
Four-Day Medal Count = 8
Mandie Maddux: Gold (Heptathlon), Silver (Javelin)
Olivia Stein: Silver (10,000m)
Jacques Hebert: Silver (1500m)
Abby Wachter: Silver (400m Hurdles)
Moira O'Connor Lenth: Silver (5000m)
Lila Rice: Bronze (1500m)
Siobhan Rubio: Bronze (800m)