Track and field teams gain more conference qualifiers

The Weber State University men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams once again qualified more athletes for the Big Sky Conference Championship at their last meet.

The Big Sky Championships will take place at the end of the month. Men’s head coach Dan Walker said the primary goal of these meets is to qualify athletes for the conference meet.

“It was a really good weekend for us,” Walker said. “It was nice to pick up several more qualifiers and win some events and continue to improve.”

The men’s team secured four more conference qualifiers and won four events. Freshman Synjohn Lilly took first in the 60-meters and qualified for the conference meet with a career-best time of 6.93. That time is also tied for the fifth-best in school history.

WSU saw another freshman qualify as well. Darion Zimmerman qualified for the Big Sky meet in the 200-meters with a time of 22.08. Josh Peterson also qualified in the 400-meters at 48.73, and Stetson Smith qualified in the 800-meters with a time of 1:53.72, finishing second in the event.

Kurt Ward won the mile run with a career-best time of 4:17.67, and Mike Hardy built on a strong performance last week by winning the 3,000-meters at 8:19.15, winning the event by more than 15 seconds. John Coyle came in second behind Hardy.

In the field events, Tyler Burns won the high jump with a mark of 6-08.75. Cylor Morgan once again won the long jump with a mark of 23-02.00. Derek Harrebomee finished second in the weight throw at 59-05.00, a seasonal-best performance.

On the women’s side, the Wildcats had a strong meet with 17 seasonal bests, and picked up two new qualifiers. Ashley Kealamakia finished third in the 800-meters and qualified for the conference with a time of 2:12.67. Laken Hintze also reached the standard, finishing fourth at 2:13.29.

Jerica Wilson was second in the 400-meters at 56.71. Freshman Jamie Stokes won the 800-meter open race at 2:17.37. Katy Hufford won the long jump at 18-00.25.

The Wildcats also performed well in the throwing events. Freshman Britlie Silvester set a new WSU record for freshmen in the weight throw, posting a career-best mark of 53-07.00. That mark also ranks as the second-best in WSU history. Silvester also finished fourth in the shotput with a mark of 43-09.75.

Women’s head coach Jim Blaisdell said he was happy with the team’s performance, especially the throwers.

“We made more improvements and are a better team than last week,” Blaisdell said. “Our throwers had a really good meet today, and we improved in other areas as well. We continue to get better each week.”

The Wildcats have two remaining meets to prepare for the Big Sky Championship. They will first head to Montana State University to compete in the MSU Invitation on Friday in Bozeman, Mont. Then they will host the Wildcat Invitational on Feb. 16. This year’s conference championship will be hosted by MSU in Bozeman.