Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Mar. 2 - The Thunderbirds opened the outdoor track and field season with record-breaking performances as the teams spent the weekend competing at the UNLV Invitational. Southern Utah athletes took first-place finishes in six events at the Las Vegas meet.
"All in all it was a very good meet, especially for the throwers," head coach Eric Houle said. "It was a great opportunity for the athletes to get out in the sun and compete at a meet that's so close to home."
Kayla Kovar led the team at UNLV with a first-place personal best mark of 192-8 in the hammer throw, improving her previous second-place school record of 191-0. Sadi Hoyt followed in third place with a mark of 160-9. Kovar also placed third in the discus throw with a mark of 154-1, followed by Rylee Mulitalo (136-8) in fourth place and Jennika Wright (131-2) in fifth. Mulitalo placed third in the shot put with a 45-0.25 toss, followed by Whitney Singleton (41-4.25) in fifth.
Javelin thrower Whitney Fairbanks opened the 2013 season with a second-place finish at UNLV, recording a mark of 135-6. She was followed by Sarah Swalberg in fifth place with a mark of 122-1.
Freshman Jayson Kovar made his outdoor collegiate debut with first-place finishes in both the discus throw and shot put. Kovar's discus mark of 171-3 ranks fourth in Southern Utah's all-time records, while his shot put mark of 52-7.25 ranks sixth. Grant Evans and Jordan Parker represented SUU in the hammer throw, placing fourth and fifth with marks of 138-9 and 131-9 respectively.
Lizzy Butler led the distance runners with a first-place finish in the 1,500-meter run, recording a time of 4:52.15 while Dayna VanArsdol led an all-SUU 5,000-meter field with a first-place time of 18:01.06.
Sprinter Julian Robinson raced to a third-place time of 50.25 in the 400-meter dash, while Elijah Rono and John Hart led the T-Birds in the 800-meters, recording fourth- and fifth-place times of 1:58.14 and 1:58.25 respectively.
Freshman Jessica Johnson opened her first outdoor season with a first-place finish in the pole vault, recording a height of 10-6 and tying for sixth-place in Southern Utah's record book. Fellow jumper Reegan Van Engen represented SUU with a second-place triple jump mark of 34-3, ranking ninth in the school records.
Jayson Cole and Stephen Wilson led the male jumpers at UNLV, placing third and fourth in the high jump with respective heights of 6-1.5 and 5-11.5.
The T-Birds will now take a two-week break from competition before travelling to San Diego, Calif., for the Aztec Invitational, set to take place Mar. 14-16.