Track and field continues success at Wildcat Open

(Source: Robert Casey)
Track and field runners race in the Wildcat Open on Feb. 22. The Wildcats had three runners qualify for the Big Sky Championships.

As the snow continues to melt and the temperature rises, track season is starting to heat up as well. As the conference and national championships are just around the corner, the Weber State University track and field teams continued to focus on the task at hand. The Wildcats took care of business in the Wildcat Open on Feb. 22.

The local meet featured some all-around performances in what many referred to as a tune-up for the Big Sky Conference meet.

“Mostly, the races today were to sharpen the guys up and run them at some distances shorter than they usually run,” said WSU men’s head coach Dan Walker. “We try to get them some speed work this week to get them ready for the Big Sky meet next week. We were fortunate to get the two extra guys qualified in the sprints, and everybody else seemed to do what we hoped they would do.”

The women’s team qualified one athlete, Natasha Powell, who continued her strong indoor season with a mark of 44-07.00 in the shot-put. Powell will compete in two different events at the conference meet after qualifying in the shot-put. She had already cemented her place in the women’s weight throw.

(Source: Robert Casey)
Weber State University sprinter Tony Osheku Jr. runs in a race at the Wildcat Open. Osheku ran the fastest 55-meter dash of the meet, qualifying for the Big Sky Championship.

Meanwhile, the men’s team qualified two sprinters, Tony Osheku Jr. and Jesse Krey. Both qualified in the 55-meter dash. Osheku’s time of 6.46 seconds was the fastest of the day from any sprinter, while Krey was only 0.01 seconds behind.

Jonathan McUne, who had already qualified in the 55-meter hurdles earlier in the season, ran a seasonal-best time of 7.57 the second-fastest time in the conference this year.

Seth Fortin also continued his excellent season as he won the 200-meter dash in a time of 22.36 seconds. In that event alone, the Wildcats had the seven fastest athletes.

On the women’s side, three freshmen excelled in their respective events by running, jumping and leaping better than their competitors. Emily Black won the 200-meter dash. Tawnie Moore won the 55-meter hurdles in a personal-best time of 8.18 seconds. Paige Cooper won both the high jump and the triple jump, as her mark of 37 feet and one inch was a personal best. That was the 10th-best mark in the conference in the season thus far.

WSU women’s head coach Jim Blaisdell said this group of athletes, who have been preparing since the fall, are ready for the conference meet. Everything they do, whether it be in the offseason or during the season, is focused on putting themselves in a better position to succeed at the conference meets.

“This is basically a tune-up meet for us,” Blaisdell said. “Conference meets are what we train for and get ready for all season, so it’s exciting that we are at that point now. For the most part, we are right where we want to be with this team.”

The Wildcats participated in the Big Sky Conference Championships this past weekend in Pocatello, Idaho. Look for a story later this week with details on how the Wildcats performed.