Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) earned his first career conference title, winning the men's 10,000 meter run as the first day of the 2012 Great West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships concluded Thursday at Turner Stadium.
Barkhaus won the 10,000 meter run with a time of 31:22.16, over five seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.) finished in fifth place in the event with a time of 32:13.47, ahead of teammate Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.) in sixth place in 32:28.90.
"It was really awesome to win after coming in second twice indoors," Barkhaus said after the race. "(HBU's) Maximo (Mendoza) is such a good runner - he beat me in the 3K. I was glad about the weather, it helped a lot since I'm not used to the heat and humidity here. I was a little nervous coming in, but I stayed focused and I'm glad I pulled through."
Bethany Richards (Shoreline, Wash.) rewrote the school record in the women's hammer throw for the fourth consecutive competition, finishing fourth overall in the event with a toss of 47.37 meters (155' 5"). Amanda Luna (Beavercreek, Ore.) earned a personal best in the event with a throw of 39.38 meters (129' 2"), as did Renate Wescott (Puyallup, Wash.) with a top effort of 35.04 meters (114' 11").
Earlier in the day, Wescott scored Seattle U's first point of the championships, finishing in eighth place in the women's javelin throw with a best effort of 34.36 meters (112' 9"). Kaytie Bateman (Chehalis, Wash.) finished right behind Wescott in ninth place in the event with a top throw of 31.25 meters (102' 6").
Bateman immediately moved on to the first four events of the heptathlon, starting with a time of 17.23 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles. She then posted outdoor personal bests in both the high jump, clearing 1.47 meters (4' 9.75"), and in the shot put, posting a mark of 9.26 meters (30' 4.75"). Bateman concluded the day with a personal-best time of 27.38 seconds in the 200 meter dash to currently sit in sixth place with 2,321 points, ahead of the school-record pace she set at last year's championships.
Josh Walters (Sacramento, Calif.) won his flight and finished in 10th place overall in the men's hammer throw with a school-record mark of 45.50 meters (149' 3"). Meghan Arigo (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) also finished 10th in the women's 10,000 meter run, crossing the finish line with a time of 42:39.01.
The Seattle U men sit in third place with 17 points, while the women are in fourth place in the team standings with six points after the first day. North Dakota leads a close race for the men's title with 22 points, as seven teams are currently within eight points of the lead, but Utah Valley has run out to a 13-point advantage in the women's standings with 47 points.
The second day of competition begins with the conclusion of the heptathlon at 12:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. Pacific time), with the field events starting at 1 p.m. Central time (11 a.m. Pacific time) and the track events commencing at about 4 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Pacific time). Live results are available from the track and field schedule page on GoSeattleU.com.