WSU Open Indoor meet yields record breaking performances

From staff reports

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When the 14th Annual WSU Open Indoor Track & Field meet officially started on the second day of competition, only a few people were aware of it.

In the center of the building, between the straight-away set up for hurdles and the pole vaulters running their warmups, the long jumpers quietly began competing. As the meet continued and WSU kept placing in events, the crowd and competitors alike started paying more attention to those in a Cougar gear.

“I was extremely happy with the Cougars’ performances at this meet,” said WSU Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Wayne Phipps. “You can always say you hope for more but I couldn’t have hoped for anything more in this opening meet at home; it was fantastic.”

For WSU, the long-jump competition was an example of the performance Phipps is referring to.

Junior Liz Harper won for the women’s team with a leap of 18 feet, 7 inches. Harper’s teammate, redshirt sophomore Greer Alsop was runner-up for that event with a leap of 18 feet, one inch from the day before.

Alsop also brought the Cougars a first, second and third placement in the triple jump for women, starting it off with the meet record breaking length of 40 feet, eight and three-fourths inches.

Teammate junior Kiana Davis came through right behind on the triple jump, setting a personal record length of 39 feet and 10 and half inches and senior Kayla Warren also beat her personal record, taking third place with her 39 feet and six inches.

In the pole vaulting event, senior Austin Sodorff ran and jammed the end of a long pole into the ground and used that momentum to pull himself up and over a horizontal bar suspended in the air, drawing the attention of the crowds. When he reached even greater heights, the crowd began a slow-clap to rev him up for the vault.

As the crowds clapped faster and faster, Sodorff raced towards the bar. When his feet left the ground, the clapping ceased. He vaulted over the bar with a season best of 16 feet, 9 and a half inches.

His season best earned first among the male pole vaulters at the meet.

Also getting a win for WSU in the field events was sophomore Brock Eager who threw 35 pounds of weight 63 feet, two and three-fourths inches making him the seventh best in WSU for weight throw of all time.

“For sophomore Brock Eager, anytime you can be on the top ten of a WSU list that’s a big time accomplishment,” Phipps said.

Senior Thane Pierson beat the height for high jump held by Thad Hathaway of Idaho University 13 years prior. Pierson broke the meet record by clearing seven feet, one inch and also set his indoor-best jump.

“Thane Pierson had a fantastic day and everyone knew, including Thane, that he had it in him,” Phipps said. “But to be able to do it (this height) this early, I think it bodes well and sets him up to get a legitimate shot at being an NCAA qualifier and an All-American.”

On the women’s team, Pierson’s teammate Davis marked the high jump at 5 feet, 8 three-fourths inches making her the winner and also setting a new personal best.

The WSU team also broke records in track events.

The multi-event competitor, junior Dino Dodig, broke his own personal record in the 60-meter hurdles by two-tenths of a second and won that event for WSU.

Sophomore Zach Smith of the men’s side crossed the finish line for the 60-meter dash in another personal best of 6.95 seconds. The women’s side also found a win in the 60-meter dash from senior Dominique Keel finishing her race in just under eight seconds.

Known as a team sport, track and field would be nothing without each individual athlete competing to the best of their ability in their personalized event. The WSU team stepped up and had the home crowd yelling for wins by the time the second day ended.

At the next meet, on Jan. 29-30, the WSU teams return to the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle.

Reporting by Casie Moe