HONOLULU, Hawai'i - The University of Nevada track & field team finished third at the 2011 WAC Outdoor Championships hosted at the Clarence TC Ching Track Complex hosted by the University of Hawai'i Friday.
Louisiana Tech won its seventh-straight WAC outdoor championship with 152 points over Utah State's 138. Nevada scored 125.50 ahead of Fresno State with 92, Idaho with 91, New Mexico State 82, Boise State 69 and Hawai'i 65.50.
The finish marks the third time Nevada has finished third at the WAC Outdoor Championships since joining the conference in 2000. The Wolf Pack has been in the top-three of the meet six times in the span, claiming third in 2002 and 2004 and second in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2009. Nevada has never won a WAC outdoor title.
Nevada got a great start to the day, mixing hard work with a little luck. The Wolf Pack's first event was a power event for the Pack. The javelin brought in 23 points to start the day. Freshman Sabine Kopplin won the silver medal with a throw of 149'02" (45.48 meters). Winning bronze with a huge lifetime best was junior Sarah Nichols throwing 148'07" (45.40 meters). Senior Marissa Hammond won second team All-WAC honors placing fourth with 148'06" (45.27 meters). Senior Danielle Stallworth finished the event with back-to-back personal bests to take fifth with 142'05" (43.41 meters), also winning second team All-WAC honors.
The first track even soon followed, and Nevada had a big boost in the 4x100 meter relay. The relay team of freshman Baylee Hearns, junior Angelica Earls, Deborah Amoah and junior April Pate set a school record 46.29 to win the event for the Pack's first gold medal of the meet. The group pulled off a huge upset, feeding off a dropped baton by Louisiana Tech. The time replaces the former record of 46.42 in place since 2000 and is the first time Nevada has won a relay at the WAC Outdoor Championships.
Nevada's second gold medal of the meet came right behind the relay in the 1,500-meters. Sophomore Samantha Diaz won the event for the second consecutive year running 4:26.37. Soon after that, Diaz won the silver in the 800-meters running 2:09.87. Diaz lost an opportunity to sweep the two events when Idaho junior Lauren Schaffer set a WAC Championship and school record of 2:04.53.
Senior Alicia Echaverria won another silver medal for the Pack in the pole vault. Echaverria placed second, clearing a height of 12'3.50" (3.75 meters). Freshman Caitlin Owen placed seventh at 10'10.00" (3.30 meters) while sophomore Casey Gray placed ninth at the same height but with more misses.
Earls also scored individual points finishing sixth in the 100 meters (12.08) and seventh in the 200 meters (24.76). Pate also scored in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 14.29. Senior Aurelia Houston placed 10th in the triple jump with a jump of 36'8.25" while junior La Tijera Avery placed 12th with a jump of 36'.
The final individual event of the meet was the 5,000 meters. Diaz finished ninth (18.05.98), senior Janet Martinez placed 12th (18:08.26) Jenifer McEntire 21st (18:51.05) and sophomore Gloria Sosa placed 26th (19:15.57). Nevada placed fourth in the final event of the night, the 4x400 meter relay with a time of 3:45.38, the third-best time in school history.