WSU sets new highs in Southern California meets

The women’s 4-by-400-meter relay squad finished eighth at the Mt. SAC Relays with a time of 3:45:10.

From staff reports

Members of the WSU men’s and women’s track and field teams broke lifetime bests and obtained personal records in three separate meets over the weekend.

The Cougars ditched Pullman’s mild spring weather for Southern California sunshine, as athletes competed in the 59th Annual Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, the Long Beach State Beach Invite and the Mt. SAC/California Invite in Azusa.

Senior hurdler CJ Allen highlighted the slew of broken records, as he won the 400-meter hurdles on Saturday in Torrance with a lifetime-best mark of 49.99 seconds. Allen, a two-time Pac-12 champion and second-team All-American, competed against seven hurdlers not affiliated with colleges in the 13-man elite field and now holds the seventh-fastest time in the event in the NCAA and fifth-fastest in program history.

“The race was very clean and very easy,” Allen said. “I was slow through 300 meters and had a huge kick to overpower the Puerto Rican champion at hurdle 10. There’s a lot of room for me to run very fast this year.”

Before Allen’s win, junior Alissa Brooks-Johnson and senior Liz Harper claimed fourth and seventh place at the Mt. SAC Relays/California Invitational heptathlon on Thursday.

Over in Torrance for the Mt. SAC Relays, personal records highlighted WSU’s performance on Thursday. Junior distance runner Devon Bortfeld shaved 11 seconds off her previous mark in the 3000-meter steeplechase, taking third place with a time of 10:23:28. Bortfeld was followed by senior distance runner Emily Dwyer in fourth, who set her own personal record of 10:26:19.

On the men’s side, sophomore distance runner Kyler Little also set a new high in the event, crossing the finish line in 8:59:95 and finishing in 13th place.

In the second day of the Mt. SAC Relays, it was the field competitors’ time to shine. Senior high jumper Kiana Davis won the women’s open high jump with a season-best leap of 5-feet-8-inches, while senior pole vaulter Anden Lewis cleared 15-feet-11-inches to set a personal record and take second place in the event.

Out on the track in Torrance on Friday afternoon, junior distance runner Vallery Korir competed in the women’s 5000-meter Invitational Elite race and ran a personal-best time of 16:36:40, good enough for 31st place. Junior distance runner Michael Williams also finished 31st in the men’s 5000-meter race with a time of 14:08.85.

To cap off the men’s team performance at the three meets, the men’s 4-by-100-meter relay team of junior sprinter Zach Smith, sophomore sprinter Ja’Maun Charles, freshman hurdler Sam Brixey and Allen ran a season-best time of 40.70, taking 11th place at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Closing out the weekend, the women’s 4-by-400-meter relay squad of freshman middle distance runner Grace Victor, Harper, Brooks-Johnson and junior middle distance runner Marlow Schulz finished eighth in the event with a time of 3:45:10.

WSU wraps up its dual meet slate on Saturday against Washington in Seattle and rounds out its regular-season schedule on April 29 with the Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track Complex. The Pac-12 Championships start on May 6 in Corvallis, Oregon.

Reporting by Jesse Woodhead