Track qualifies 19 more athletes

The Wildcats had 19 additional athletes qualify for the Big Sky Track and Field Championships after the Utah Valley University Invitational Friday. Ten boys and nine girls put up record-breaking marks.

“We had a really nice performance today,” said Dan Walker, the men’s head coach. “A lot of our athletes were competing for the first time because of the rainout two weeks ago in San Diego. The extra two weeks of practice paid off for us.”

Zach Parry qualified in shot put with a throw of 52-03.25 and in hammer throw with a throw of 188-90.75. Personal bests were achieved by Jonathan McUne in hurdles with a time of 15.07 seconds, Issac Akers and Dustin Durfee in the 400-meter hurdles with times of 54.65 and 55.09, and a first place finish from Kurt Ward in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.13.

“We had three great times in the 400-meters and two in the 400-meter hurdles,” Walker said. “Both relay teams took advantage of the good weather and put up some good times.”

The women’s team had solid performances from Kassie Reynolds in the hammer throw. Her toss of 158-01.23 is the sixth best hammer throw in Weber State University school history. Dottie Vea now has the eighth best throw with 152-02.00 in school history with Hillary Stevens right behind her with the ninth and a throw of 150-02.00.

“It was a really good meet for us,” said Jim Blaisdell, the women’s head coach. “We had two qualifiers in the 400 meters, 800 meters and high jump. Our time in the 4×400 relay (3:46.49) is the best time in the Big Sky this year by more than four seconds.”

Kiristin Billings won the 100 in a time of 12.08, just shy of her career best of 12.06. She finished second in the 200 with a time of 21.78. Ashley Kealamakia won the 800 with a career best time of 2:13.74.

“We had 16 season best performances as well, so I feel good about where we are this early in the season,” Blaisdell said.

Last week two WSU track and field athletes were named Big Sky Athletes of the Week, Amber Henry and Mark Hardy. Hardy won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with the second fastest time in the country in the event this season at the San Diego Invite earlier this season.

Henry won two events, the 3,000-meter steeplechase as well as the 1,500 in San Diego. In both races her times are ranked number one among NCAA Division I athletes. Henry ran the steeplechase for the first time in her collegiate career and posted a time of 10:12.00. That is the fifth best time in WSU women’s outdoor track and field history.

“I wanted to do well, but I did not know what to expect,” Henry said. “I had never run a race like that before. I went into it with the mindset that this was my first time, I don’t have any expectations, so I’m just going to go out and have fun. It was something I always wanted to do, so I was glad I got to do it.”

WSU will be traveling to California to the Stanford Invitational Friday.