Aggies Perform Well In Day Two of WAC Indoor Championships Friday
Feb. 27, 2009
BOISE, Idaho - Utah State men's and women's track and field teams performed well in day two of the 2009 Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships Friday, as the Aggie men are third while the women are fourth entering Saturday's final day of action. Senior John Strang won his second-straight heptathlon title with an NCAA provisional qualifying 5,522 points while freshman Ruth Hilton ran the third-best Utah State time in the 5,000m at 17:36.72.
Strang finished the heptathlon Friday taking first in the 60m hurdles at 8.25 and second in the pole vault clearing 14-03.25 (4.35m). Strang also took third in the 1,000m clocking in at 2:55.80. Strang's score is a new Utah State school record, breaking the previous record of 5,506 points that he set in 2008. Strang took the heptathlon title in 2008 when he set that previous USU record (5,506 pts.). Strang now has four consecutive multi-event titles counting the two outdoor championship titles he took in 2008 and 2007 in the decathlon.
"John (Strang) is just a great competitor, there's just no question about it," USU veteran head coach Gregg Gensel said. "He just wanted to win that and he went out and did. John wanted to better his mark to see if he can get into nationals and I think his score today did that. He just had a great two days. He still has the high jump to go tomorrow so we're excited to see how he'll do along with our other high jumpers."
Also competing in the heptathlon for the Aggies was freshman Job Goble, as he finished fourth with 4,902 pts.
Junior Steve Strickland won the men's 5,000m with a new PR time of 14:41.02, taking the lead on the final lap and holding off Boise State's Sawyer Bosch (14:41.88). Strickland's time is also eighth-best in USU history.
"We went into this day just wanting to get people through to the finals and take care of business in the events that were finals today," Gensel said. "We had a great meet today, we set people up great for tomorrow. Steve Strickland ran a great 5,000 meters to win, our distance medley teams both won and John Strang won the multi. We looked solid all day long. Our freshmen also stepped up."
Utah State also swept the men's and women's titles in the distance medley. For the men, seniors Ben Kessen and Keith Williams along with sophomores James Allred and Chio Lopez finished the event in 10:07.61, which is a new seventh-best Utah State record time.
USU's women clocking in with a winning time of 12:03.40. Senior Allison Taylor, juniors Heidi Hopkins and Erin Stratton along with freshman anchor Jessie Chugg, now hold the sixth-best Utah State school time in the event.
"One of the things we've always prided ourselves on is being a solid distance running school and so by winning the distance medleys, that helps us solidify that in the minds of everybody else," Gensel said. "We showed in the distance events today that we can do well across the board. I was really proud of the kids in the distance medleys. They did solid things and our anchor legs took care of business."
Senior Blake Hadfield took fifth in the long jump setting a new PR at 23-09.50 (7.29m). Freshman Damian Szade placed sixth with a distance of 22-10.50 (6.97m). In the men's shot put freshman Bryce Hall finished fifth throwing 52-04.50 (15.96m).
USU will advance four men to Saturday's finals in the 60m hurdles in seniors Keith Williams and Nick Karren, junior Dylan Nielson and sophomore Blake Bolen. Karren and senior Brandon Waller will also both be advancing to the 400m finals Saturday, while Karren also qualified for the finals in the 200m. In the 800 prelims both sophomore James Allred and junior Heath Wing will advance to the finals.
In women's action, sophomore Sonia Grabowska finished second in the pole vault clearing 13-04.25 (4.07m). Grabowska tied first place finisher, Idaho's K.C. Dahlgren, and the two went to a judge's decision, based on number of attempts.
In the women's 5,000m sophomore Kim Quinn followed close behind third-place finisher Hilton, finishing fourth at 17:42.33, tabbing her fifth on the USU all-time list.
In the women's long jump sophomores Kimiko Kamo (17-05.50) and Maria Halton (17-05.25) finished in 12th and 13th, respectively. Senior Tara Pickett finished fourth in the high jump clearing 5-07.00 (1.70m), tying her current PR.
In the mile prelims the Aggies had four women that qualified to the finals Saturday with junior Erin Stratton leading USU clocking in at 5:10.05 in second place. Also advancing with
In the 60m hurdles, junior Ashlee Cannon will also be moving on to Saturday's finals, finishing the prelims at 8.70.
The Aggies did not advance anyone to the finals in the men's or the women's 60m, and the women will not be advancing anyone in the 200m to the finals.
At the end of day two in the championships the men are in third place with 42 points, behind host Boise State (51 pts.) and Idaho (47 pts.). The women are in fourth place with 42 pts., behind Idaho (59.5 pts), Hawai'i (49.5 pts) and BSU (48 pts.).
Action will continue Saturday in the third and final day of the indoor championships. The first events are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Live results are available by clicking on
Utah State Track & Field WAC Indoor Championships February 27 - Nampa, Idaho USU Results