Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
WALNUT, Calif./AZUSA, Calif. - Apr. 20 - The Thunderbirds had a busy weekend in California competing in the Mt. SAC Relays, Bryan Clay Invitational and in the combined events of the California Invitational. Southern Utah had 13 times and marks break into the school's all-time records, including top records in the 100-meter hurdles and heptathlon set by Shaye Maurer-Springall.
"That is why we come to meets like this," head coach Eric Houle said. "We get into the warm weather, our training is at its peak and the athletes can reap the benefits of their hard work this season."
Maurer-Springall was among the first T-Birds to arrive in California this week, competing in the California Invitational combined events on Wednesday and Thursday alongside teammates Cheyenne Thatcher, Stephen Wilson and Eric Durrant. Maurer-Springall finished seventh in the heptathlon with an all-time best Southern Utah score of 5201, improving on her previous school record of 5111. Thatcher also broke into the top ten with a sixth-place all-time heptathlon score of 5444. Wilson now ranks ninth in the all-time decathlon records after a ninth-place score of 5916 at the California Invite.
All four multi athletes went on to compete in either the Mt. SAC Relays or at Azusa Pacific's Clay Invitational on Friday. Maurer-Springall raced her way to another all-time school record at Mt. SAC, recording an eighth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.64.
The distance team also had several athletes break into top ten records at Mt. SAC, with Jamie Smith at the head with a second-best all-time 5,000-meter run finish of 16:08.94. Smith placed 13th in the Olympic development heat of the 5,000-meters and now ranks second behind SUU alum Sharla Manuele in the school records.
Kirsten Bradford also raced in the 5,000-meters at Mt. SAC and finished sixth in her heat with a time of 16:31.70, improving her previous fourth-place school record by about 20 seconds. Danielle Jewkes finished 16th in her 5,000-meters heat and ranks fifth in the record books with a time of 16:32.78. Jewkes also set a third-place all-time record of 4:25.98 in the 1,500-meter run, finishing 24th in her heat.
Nate Jewkes led the men's distance team at Mt. SAC, finishing fourth in his heat of the 10,000-meter run with a fourth-best SUU record of 29:08.04 and also qualifying for the Big Sky championship in that event. Ryan Barrus also broke into an all-time top five with a fifth-place finish in the 5,000-meters, ranking second in the school records with a time of 14:02.59.
The sprinters at Mt. SAC were led by Preston Myers, who finished ninth in the 200-meters with a fourth-best SUU record of 21.27. He was followed by Shaun Murray in 31st place with a Big Sky qualifying time of 21.70. Myers also raced in the 100-meter dash, finishing 15th in his heat with a time of 10.61. Jamila Pullum sprinted on the women's side and set a team season best in the 400-meter run with a time of 57.36.
The women's sprints team also excelled at Azusa Pacific's Clay Invitational, where the 4x100-meter relay team finished first overall with a time of 46.55, ranking seventh in the school records. Mayra Franco, Shaye Maurer-Springall, Lindsay Terry and T'Keyah Johnson made up that team. Franco also raced to a sixth-place all-time record of 24.59 in the 200-meter dash, qualifying for the Big Sky championship in that event.
Jennika Wright led the T-Birds in the field at Azusa Pacific, finishing sixth in the shot put with a third-best SUU mark of 46-6.25. Jayson Kovar led on the men's side with an eighth-place shot put mark of 50-10.25. Freshman jumper Taylir Garrison also competed in the field at Azusa Pacific, recording a team season best in the high jump with an eighth-place mark of 5-4.25.
"Looking at our performances across the board," Houle continued, "it was really a great weekend for the program."
Southern Utah track and field will be back in California next weekend competing in Stanford's Payton Jordan Invitational, set to take place Apr. 28 in Palo Alto. Southern Utah will also play host to the SUU High School Coliseum Championship this week, which will take place on Apr. 26-27 at the Eccles Coliseum.