Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif./PALO ALTO, Calif./OREM, Utah - Mar. 30 - The Thunderbirds finished out the week with three separate track and field meets on Friday, recording Big Sky qualifying marks at the Stanford Invitational, San Francisco State Distance Carnival and UVU Collegiate. Several of the athletes also broke into Southern Utah's all-time records with top-scoring performances.
"This was a really good weekend for us and it looks like we're ahead of where we were at this time last year," head coach Eric Houle said. "If we can keep it going like this, we will have many more athletes qualify for the conference championship in Portland."
Southern Utah's distance squad spent the day in California, with five of the Thunderbirds representing SUU at the Stanford Invitational. Nate Jewkes led the men at Stanford with a fifth-place finish in the 5,000-meters, recording a top conference time of 14:03.13. Jewkes' time also improves his previous second-place school record of 14:03.44. Ryan Barrus also raced in the 5,000-meters and finished 21st with a time of 14:39.06. John Hart represented the T-Birds in the steeplechase, finishing 10th with a Big Sky qualifying time of 9:17.22.
Danielle Jewkes and Jamie Smith were the only women to compete at Stanford, racing in the 1,500-meters and 5,000-meters respectively. Danielle Jewkes qualified for the conference championship and set a new third-best SUU record with her third-place time of 4:28.18. Smith also raced to a qualifying time with a seventh-place finish in the 5,000-meter run, improving her third-place school record with a time of 16:16.84.
The rest of the distance team competed at the nearby San Francisco State Distance Carnival, recording top ten finishes and conference qualifying marks. Devan Antczak led the men with a second-place finish in the steeplechase, breaking into the school's top ten with a Big Sky qualifying time of 9:53.02. Tyson Boyer also raced in the steeplechase, recording a 14th-place time of 9:53.02. Several of the men also race in the 1,500-meter run, led by Jon Lee with a 16th-place finish and time of 3:56.82.
Kirsten Bradford and Sylvia Bedford both raced to Big Sky qualifying marks in the 5,000-meters at San Francisco State, with Bradford finishing third with a time of 16:52.23 and Bedford following in seventh with a time of 16:58.71. Bradford also raced to an 11th-place time of 4:39.66 in the 1,500-meters, followed by Bedford (4:43.74) in 21st place. Teammates Dayna VanArsdol and Shelli Mogensen also qualified for conference in the 5,000-meters, recording times of 17:28.93 and 17:36.84 respectively while Kaylee Coates led the women in the 800-meters with a fourth-place time of 2:14.77, followed by Aubrey Bryson (2:17.51) in 13th place.
Southern Utah’s sprinters, jumpers and throwers stayed a little bit closer to home this weekend, traveling to the UVU Collegiate and facing Big Sky competitors Utah Valley, Weber State and Idaho State. Preston Myers led the men in sprints with a first-place time of 10.54 in the 100-meters, qualifying for the conference championship and improving his previous top-ten school record. Hurdler Kodai Kusano also recorded a first-place finish at UVU, racing to a time of 14.47 in the 110-meter hurdles.
Dallin Tavoian and Julian Robinson led the men in the 400-meters with fourth- and sixth-place respective times of 49.20 and 49.43. Both sprinters also raced in the 4x400-meter relay team alongside Myers and Shaun Murray. The team finished second overall with a time of 3:18.25. The 4x100-meter team (Myers, Murray, Kusano and Jeff Alley) finished third at UVU with a sixth-place school record time of 41.51.
The women also excelled in the sprints at Utah Valley with T’Keyah Johnson finishing first in the 200-meter dash (25.13) and fourth in the 100-meter dash (12.21). Mayra Franco finished third in the 100-meters with a Big Sky qualifying time of 12.06, ranking sixth in the school records, while Jamilla Pullum finished fourth in the 400-meters with a time of 25.81.
The throwers were led by Jennika Wright with a fourth-place finish and qualifying mark of 45-9.75 in the shot put, while Jayson Kovar placed second in the shot put and third in the discus with respective marks of 51-1 and 161-0.
Taylir Garrison led the jumpers with a second-place finish in the high jump with a mark of 5-4. Stephen Wilson finished fifth in the triple jump on the men’s side, recording a distance of 43-5.75.
The Thunderbirds will be back in action next weekend as the team unites for the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, set to take place Apr. 13 in Pomona, Calif.