SUU Strategic Communications

Thunderbirds Start Strong In Pocatello

February 24, 2017
By SUU Strategic Communication

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POCATELLO, Idaho - The Thunderbird track and field teams had a great start to the 2017 Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships on Friday, with All-Conference performers on both the men’s and women’s side.

Heading into Saturday the men’s team sits in third place with with 28 points, trailing Montana State (43) and Northern Arizona (32.5). This puts the men right in title contention with one day of competition remaining.  

The women’s team currently sits in a tie for ninth place with eight points. They are tied with Idaho.  

Southern Utah’s women’s distance medley relay team set a brand new school record with a converted time of 11:44.28. The team comprised of Josie Riggs, Laura Kehr, Linnea Saltz and Sharlie Dimick earned All-Conference status by finishing in third place.

“We hadn’t even talked about breaking it, so hearing that after the race definitely made it worth all of our hard work and effort,” Dimick said about the accomplishment.  

The men’s squad had a pair of All-Conference honorees on Friday.

Senior thrower Jayson Kovar finished second overall in the shot put to earn the title once again. Kovar set a mark of 57’4’’, which was good enough to have the silver medal put around his neck. He isn’t done yet, either. As he will compete in the weight throw on Saturday morning.

“It definitely got my confidence up to get a good competition in, and hopefully I can get a better one tomorrow,” he said.

Matthew Wright was the other All-Conference performer for the Thunderbirds, finishing second in the 5,000-meter with a time of 14:35.81.

“Kudos to coach and the program,” Wright said following the race. “I love when I get into races, and it might seem tough, but we practiced the situation and I’m prepared. I just feel like me and all my teammates are getting better and better all the time, and it’s great to see the success.”  

The Thunderbirds had two other athletes score points for the team in the men’s 5K, with Mark Bennett and Aidan Reed finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

The men’s DMR team, which on Saturday was comprised of Josh Collins, Jake Jutkins, George Espino and Liam Kennell, got on the board by finishing fourth.  

In the women’s 5,000 Ashley Tyndall was able to put some points on the board by finishing in seventh with a 17:33.79.

Saltz represented the women strong in the 400-meter, qualifying for Saturday’s final with a seventh place finish.

The men’s team had several solid qualifying marks on Friday, and will now turn their attention to the finals on Saturday.

Kasey Knevelbaard and George Espino both won their heat of the 800-meter, and set the top two times heading into Saturday’s final. Knevelbaard used a huge kick at the end of his race to claim the top qualifying spot overall.

Tre James set the standard for the men’s 60-meter dash with a 6.72. Unconverted that is the fourth fastest time in Big Sky history.

Devon Montgomery set the third fastest qualifying time with a 8.16 in the 60-meter hurdles.

Inoa Wahinehookae and Brandan Harley both qualified to run in the finals of the 400-meter dash finishing sixth and seventh respectively.   

The meet will continue Saturday morning and two Big Sky Champions will be crowned in Holt Arena.

For all things SUU track and field follow @SUUTrackandxc on Twitter and Instagram and like the Southern Utah Track and XC page on Facebook.