Women’s Track and Field Goes the Distance

The Weber State University women’s indoor track and field team won the 2012 Big Sky Conference championship on Saturday afternoon in Flagstaff, Ariz.

The Wildcats last won the championship in 2007. This marks their ninth conference championship in 25 years.

Juniors Sarah Callister and Amber Henry captured the title by one point (132-131) over two-time defending champion Sacramento State University.

Callister, the two-time Big Sky Conference defending champion in the outdoor 5,000 and 10,000-meter runs, captured the long distance double in the 5,000 and 3,000 and added a second place finish in the mile run to finish with 28 points.

Callister was named the Female Track Athlete of the Meet.  Callister won the 5,000 on Friday night in a time of 16 minutes and 58.65 seconds, then came back on Saturday to post a time of 4:53.87 in the mile, and less than two hours later ran 9:45.05 to win the 3,000.

Henry won the 800 in a time of 2;11.26, then won the mile in 4:52.66.  Henry, who set the WSU school record in the 3,000 earlier this season, finished fourth in the 3,000 in a time of 10:16.57.

“Those were two gritty performances by Sarah and Amber, especially at high altitude,” said WSU Head Coach Jim Blaisdell.

Blaisdell said he was impressed with the performances of Callister and Henry.

“Those were both very difficult triples,” Blaisdell said, “especially Amber who had to run all three races within a three-hour timespan. We needed every point today, and we came through. I am really thrilled with our performance today.”

In the women’s pole vault, WSU freshman Elisa Isakson ended up in a three-way tie at 11 feet, 5 3/4 inches, but with fewer misses. Isakson finished eighth, garnering one point for WSU.

After finishing most of their events, the Wildcats had to wait for the completion of the last event, the triple jump. SSU needed a 1-2-3-4 from its group to tie the Wildcats, but it went 1-2-3-5 and were closed out.

Senior sprinter Kristin Billings finished third in the 60-meter dash in a personal best time of 7.50 and ran a personal best of 24.44, finishing second in the 200.

Her 60-meter time is the second fastest time in WSU school history, as was her 200-meter time.

“I am so happy for Kristin,” said Blaisdell. “She has worked tremendously hard this season and finished strong.”

The Wildcats finished 1-3-6 in the 800, 1-2-3 in the mile, 1-3-4-5 in the 3,000 and 1-3-5-8 in the 5,000, using their depth to hold off the Hornets.

WSU also won both relays. On Friday night, it captured the distance medley relay in a time of 12:20.45. It was the only time this year it has run that event. That squad was made up of Loren Story (1,200 meters), Audrey Smith (800 meters), Lindsey McFarland (800 meters) and Laken Hintze (1,600 meters).

Every athlete who finished first, second or third earned All-Big Sky Conference honors.

The men’s track and field also participated at the event and finished fifth with 45 points, one point ahead of Idaho State, but Northern Arizona took home the title, scoring a meet record of 215 points.

Zach Parry had the highest place finish for the WSU men with a second place showing in the 35-pound weight throw on Friday night. Parry had a season-best toss of 60-002.00. Derek Harrebomee was fourth (59-07.00). Parry was fifth (51-07-75) in the shot put on Saturday, and Harrebomee finished seventh (50-08.00).

“It was good event to participate in,” Harrebomee said. “Even though we only placed fifth, we all did our best.”

Both men’s relay teams finished fourth. The distance medley team of Kurt Ward (1,200 meters), Christian Barbiero (400 meters), Brett Lechtenberg (800 meters) and Mike Hardy (1,600 meters) posted a time of 10:26.95.    The 4×400 relay team of Dustin Durfee, Christian Barbiero, Josh Peterson and Matt White came in at 3:14.83, which is a season best.

“We finished right where I had us on paper before the meet,” said Head Coach Dan Walker. “We competed hard and gave everything we had with our small band of brothers.”

Indoor track and field will be in action again on March 9 at the NCAA Indoor Championship in Boise, Idaho.