Track & Field Ties Program-Best at WAC Outdoor Championships
FRESNO, Calif. The University of Nevada track & field team finished second at the WAC Outdoor Championships hosted at Warmerdam Field on the campus of Fresno State Saturday. The finish ties for the best ever finish for Nevada at the meet, with the Wolf Pack having placed second behind Louisiana Tech back in 2001.
It was an extremely tense day for the Wolf Pack as it did everything it could to hold its spot in second after Friday’s events. Louisiana Tech won the team title with its amazing dominiation in the sprint events as usual scoring 162 points. The battle for second became extremely heated as Idaho and Boise both briefly stole it away from the Wolf Pack at isolated points in the day. The Wolf Pack scored 123 points over Idaho’s 121 and Boise State’s 116.5.
Nevada’s finish marks a constant state of improvement that the Pack has been on since head coach Shantel Twiggs took over at the helm of the program in 2004. Nevada placed fourth at the WAC outdoor meet at Hawai’i last season scoring 100.5 points and bounced back from a disappointing seventh at this season’s indoor meet scoring just 50.5 points.
The hopes of the entire Pack team came down to the final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay. The tream spread out all over the track to cheer on its four representative, giving everything they had to make sure Idaho didn’t steal the spot. When the starter’s pistol fired to begin the relay race, Nevada was just one point ahead of the Vandals 119-118. The team of freshman Alexandria Jones-Patten (Portland, Ore.), sophomore Polly Smith (Reno, Nev.), junior Shaina Wright (Bakersfield, Calif.) and senior Jennifer Bauer (Newport, Ore.) ran 3:51.90 to place fifth ahead of Utah State in sixth at 3:54.56.
The day got off to a great start for the Pack in the other relay of the day in the 4x100-meter relay. The team of junior Analisa Serrano (Sparks, Nev.), Wright, senior Kristen Singleton (Kennewick, Wash.) and senior Ciara McMillan (Vacaville, Calif.) placed a stellar second with a time of 46.64. In the first event of the afternoon junior Inger Appanaitis (Brookings, Ore.) set personal bests four different times to finish fifth in the hammer with a mark of 169’09”.
The Pack had 11 other top-five finishes with five medals won. The best individual finish came from Pack All-American senior Kali Baker (Las Vegas, Nev.). who won the silver medal in the 1,500-meters with a time of 4:27.26. Sophomore Charlotte Schonbeck (Lidingo, Sweden) won the bronze medal in the event (4:32.90). In just 45-minutes after the conlusion of the 1,500, Schonbeck was running the 800-meters where she won a second bronze at 2:10.84. Sophomore LaNaya Wattree (Las Vegas, Nev.) placed fifth behind Schonbeck in the 800m with a time of 2:11.96.
Wright had two other top individual finishes placing fourth in the 200-meters (24.61) fifth in the 100-meters (12.09). Smith also won a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles (1:01.65) in addition to her relay performance. Big points came from a trio in the triple jump that included Serrano, who had not competed or even practiced the event for more than two years. Serrano placed seventh with a jump of 37’3.75”. The Pack won fourth and fifth place also in the event in seniors Ashley Mathis (Las Vegas, Nev.) at 39’4.5” and Sherena Smith (Portland, Ore.) at 38’7.
On more medal was won as the sun began to set on the stadium in a brutal 5,000-meter race. Freshman Amanda Moreno (Escalon, Calif.) won her first trip to the podium, clocked at 17:33.31.