Track divides and conquers in Seattle, Albuquerque

From staff reports

In a double-meet weekend, WSU track and field athletes came together to set personal and season bests.

Half the team went to the Husky Classic meet at Dempsey Indoor Facility in Seattle and the other to the Don Kirby Elite/Open in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Convention Center.

At the Husky Classic, the WSU teams were able to finally stretch out their legs and show their speed in a longer distance event.

The women’s 3000-meter brought a personal best of 9 minutes, 35.49 seconds for senior CharLee Linton putting her 55th overall and the eighth–best in WSU records.

The rest of the Cougar ladies in that race also set personal bests. Sophomore Devon Bortfeld finished in 9:39.53 with redshirt junior Morgan Willson placing 72nd with a time of 9:58.13 and senior Emily Dwyer behind her placing 73rd with 9:58.48.

The men’s mile led to Cougar personal records with freshman Paul Ryan setting the top time of 4:07.46. Another freshman came in next for WSU, Nathan Tadesse at 4:08.69 while junior John Whelan was not much farther behind with his 51st place and time of 4:09.96. Sophomore Sam Levora rounded out that race with a personal best time of 4:11.67.

Whelan and Levora also set personal records in the 5000-meter. Whelan was 15th with his time of 13:59.25 and Levora came in 37th in 14:24.54.

Also at the Husky Classic, freshman Katherine Dittmann stepped up in the women’s 5000-meter and set a personal record time of 13:59.25.

Leaping 5-feet, 9 1/4 inches, senior Audrey Ketcham matched her personal best mark and secured the second place spot for the women’s high jump competition. Her teammate, senior Lateah Holmes made a season-best mark of 5-feet, 5 ¾ inches.

“Another solid weekend with a large number of personal bests,” WSU director of cross-country/track & field Wayne Phipps said. “John Whelan ran a great 5km and I feel he is ready to get an NCAA qualifier in that event. It was also great to see NCAA qualifier Audrey Ketchum come back from injury and have a very promoting performance.”

The men also cleared personal best heights in high jump. Senior Thane Pierson was third by clearing 6-foot, 9-inches. Making a season-best clearance was junior Cole Smith at 6-foot, 7-inches.

At this same height, freshman Peyton Fredrickson set a personal best along with redshirt sophomore Grayson Anderson who made his best height of 6-foot, 5-inches for high jump.

For the men’s 60-meter hurdles at Albuquerque Convention Center, the Cougar men competing showed their speed and agility by all advancing into the semifinals.

Freshman Christapherson Grant was the top man with a fifth-place finish and a time of 8.20 seconds, a personal best for him.

“I thought our athletes really competed well here in Albuquerque with several lifetime-bests and season-best marks,” Associate Head Coach Yogi Teevens said. “Chris Grant going to the finals as freshman was a big accomplishment.”

His teammates juniors CJ Allen, Ian Markham and Abu Kamara finished 11, 12 and 14, respectfully, all well under nine seconds.

Coming back to compete in the 400-meter dash, Allen ran a personal best time of 47.41 which was the lead time for Cougar records in that race. Finishing 34th with 50.03 was freshman Ray Littles making it his personal best time this season. As well, freshman Will DeMaris made a record time of 50.17 to finished 36th.

For the women’s team, redshirt sophomore Greer Alsop long-jumped 18-feet, 2 ¼-inches, a season-best for her.

The men also showed their strength in Seattle with the men’s shot puts.

53-feet, 4 ½ inches was the season-best toss for senior Matt Wardell and junior Tyler Jackson threw his personal best of 49-feet, 3 ½-inches.

The next meet is the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship on Feb. 26-27 in Seattle.

Reporting by Casie Moe