Morgan sets record at Wildcat Invitational

Fans at the 2013 Wildcat Invitational on Saturday were treated to something special. Weber State University’s Cylor Morgan set the Stromberg Gym record with a jump of 24 feet, eight-and-a-quarter inches.

The nearly 25-foot leap was also the third-best jump in school history and the 17th-longest jump in the nation.

In addition to Morgan’s first-place finish in the event, WSU’s Logan Leavitt finished in second place in the long jump. Leavitt’s 22 feet, 10-and-a-half inches jump was good enough for second place.

The men’s track and field team saw four new athletes qualify for the Big Sky meet, including two in the 200-meter dash. Synjohn Lilly and Tony Osheku Jr. both qualified in the event. Lilly ran it in 22.27 seconds and Osheku won it with a time of 22.31. They also finished one-two in the race.

Jonathan McUne was another new qualifier for the Wildcats. He will race in the 55-meter hurdles event in the Big Sky meet after running it in 7.80 seconds on Saturday.

Tyler Robinson fell short of the conference-qualifying standard in the 5,000-meter run, but he will qualify for the Big Sky meet because he will be in the top 16 in the conference in the event. Robinson ran the 5,000-meter in 15:36.00 on Saturday.

Men’s head coach Dan Walker said he was happy with the team’s performance and was really pleased to see the team performing well so close to the Big Sky meet.

“I was really pleased with the way we competed,” Walker said. “In these meets right before conference, it can be really easy to not do as well as you could, but our guys competed today. I was really proud of them.”

On the women’s side, three new athletes qualified for the championship meet. Lauren Navidomskis qualified and finished second in the high jump with a mark of 5-05.25.

Natasha Powell also qualified for the Big Sky meet next week, setting a mark of 53-04.50 in the weight throw, taking fourth in the event.

The women were led by Alex Van Halder, who qualified in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.71 seconds. Her time made her the top collegiate performer in the event on Saturday.

Van Halder also won the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.24 seconds. That time was her career best, although she had already qualified in that event earlier in the season. Van Halder is one of eight freshmen the Wildcats will take to the Big Sky Conference meet next week.

Women’s head coach Jim Blaisdell said it will be a good experience for the team to have a lot of freshmen compete and gain experience in the conference meet.

“We have eight freshmen going up to Bozeman to compete (in the conference meet), so it will be a really good experience for them and we’re excited to get up there.”

Van Halder’s two wins were one of five event wins that the women accumulated during the meet. The men also had great success on Saturday, recording seven total wins in the meet.

The Big Sky Conference meet will take place on Feb. 22 and 23 in Bozeman, Mont.