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The Weber State University track and field team started off its season with a bang over the weekend at the Snake River Open in Pocatello, Idaho.
Picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference this year, WSU had seven athletes from the men’s team and nine from the women’s team qualify for the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship in the spring.
On the men’s team, the Wildcats had a strong performance in the 3,000-meter run. Sophomores Mike Hardy and Jason Nance posted personal best times while finishing first and second respectively with times of 8 minutes 34 seconds and 8:38.75.
Senior Chris Struckman qualified in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.99 seconds, while freshman Jonathan McUne qualified in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.32.
Over in the field events, sophomore Dustin Martin threw a personal best of 55 feet, 9.25 inches to qualify in the 35-pound weight throw event, and defending Big Sky men’s high-jump champion Mike Staker qualified with a jump of 6 feet, 4.75 inches. The Wildcats also took the men’s 4×400 meter relay, thanks to sophomores Dustin Durfee, Josh Peterson, Christian Barbiero and junior Matt White, combining for a time of 3:21.05.
The women’s team also turned in a good performance in Pocatello. Junior Amylyn Schmidt won the women’s pentathlon with a career best 3,487 points, the fourth most point total in WSU women’s indoor track and field history.
In the women’s mile run, juniors Amber Henry and Laken Hintze finished first and second respectively, with times of 4:48.33 and 5:06.27. Henry’s time was the second fastest time in school history, just falling short of the 17-year-old record by 0.4 seconds. Not only was Henry’s time the second best in school history, but it was also the fourth fastest time in the nation this year.
In the 3,000, juniors Sarah Calister and Taylor Thornley posted personal best times while qualifying for the championship meet. Callister’s 9:46.91 was good enough for her to finish second place while also posting the fourth best time in WSU history. Senior Audrey Smith, junior Jerica Wilson, sophomore Amanda Alston and freshman Elisa Isakson combined to win the 4×400 with a time of 3:55.55.
Coach Jim Blaisdell said that this meet was similar to a preseason basketball game.
“We’re getting back in shape from winter vacation,” Blaisdell said. “We’re figuring out where we’re at and what we can do.”
Coach Blaisdell also said that last weekend’s meet had very good performances for an early meet, but the team will perform even better as the season progresses. Henry echoed Blaisdell’s thoughts.
“I don’t think we are all at our best right now, but we all performed really well,” Henry said.
Henry also said she thought the team was performing well and that seeing how well the team was doing was exciting. She said that she was happy that she was able to run the second-fastest time in school history but a little disappointed that she couldn’t break the record.
“I’m excited to have done so well,” Henry said. “But if I had run 0.4 seconds faster, I would have had the record.”
Henry and Blaisdell said they were both pleased with the meet. They said that it was exciting to see the team perform this well in the first race of the season.
The Wildcats’ next meet will come at the end of the month at the Boise State Open.