Track and field posts solid performance at Utah Spring Classic

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(Photo by Tony Post)
Weber State University sophomore Katy Hufford jumps a hurdle in a meet earlier this season. The WSU women’s track and field team had two runners qualify Friday for the Big Sky Conference championships in May.

As the temperature continues to rise, the times on the track get lower. With each meet, the Weber State University track and field teams have qualified a handful of different athletes. On Friday, they made the short trip down to the University of Utah to take part in the Utah Spring Classic, the meet splitting events with Saturday’s Wildcat Open.

The Wildcats performed well, facing some of the toughest competition not only in the state but in the Big Sky Conference, as Idaho State University and Montana State University both made the trip down too.

“We just keep chipping away at qualifying marks,” said WSU men’s head coach Dan Walker. “It’s like we’ve been saying all year: We’re young, but we’re getting better every week.”

Photo by Tony Post
(Photo by Tony Post)
Track and field runners compete in a sprint race earlier this season. The WSU men’s track and field team had four runners qualify Friday for the Big Sky Conference championships in May.

The distance crew found success as sophomore Jason Kearns qualified for the 10,000-meter run with his time of 15 minutes, 15.23 seconds in the 5,000-meter run. That time was good enough to place him second behind Michael Asay of MSU.

The Wildcats also had a trio qualify in the 800-meter. Joe Maloney, Stetson Smith and Brett Lechtenberg all ran under 1:54.00.

It wasn’t just the distance crew that ran well. Three separate 100-meter runners ran times under the qualifying standard. But after the altitude adjustments, those times were no longer under the standard, which left Christian Weidle, Jesse Krey and Darion Zimmerman still searching for it. Seth Fortin, who placed third in the event, has already qualified for the conference meet with a time set earlier in the season.

Fortin and Zimmerman also ran well in the 200-meter, placing fourth and fifth respectively. Jonathan McUne placed second in the 110-meter hurdles, barely beaten by Jordan Charles of the University of Wyoming.

The WSU women’s team was not to be outdone, especially with a chance to run against some of the best competitors in the Pac-12. Jamie Stokes continued her impressive season by placing third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:11.94 and qualifying for the conference meet.

Kayla Blackford was one of the three Wildcats in the 5,000-meter run. She ran well enough to place third overall. Her time of 18:2.85 also qualified her for the conference meet. Amanda Ward completed the run in 19:08.77, while Brittany Thornock ran 19:43.61.

Tawnie Moore continued her excellent freshman season by placing fifth overall in a time of 14:36. The 4-by-100-meter relay team placed fourth with a time of 46.73 seconds, barely beaten by conference rival MSU.

“We just keep getting better every week, it seems like,” said WSU women’s head coach Jim Blaisdell. “I’m very happy with how we keep cutting time off times that have already qualified.”

The Wildcats will now head to California. Some of them will participate in the Long Beach Invitational, and most of them will participate in the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays.