The Weber State University track and field teams participated in two meets last week. Wildcats competed in California and Utah as the teams started their season off.
All-American Amber Henry set the fastest time in the West Region and the second-best time in the nation in the steeplechase last week with a time of 9:55.07.
Women’s head coach Jim Blaisdell said he was impressed with Henry’s performance and is excited to see what else she can accomplish as the season goes on.
“Amber was outstanding, without a question,” Blaisdell said. “It’s early in the year, but she’s just going to get better as well. That’s really an outstanding time, especially for this early in the season.”
Laken Hintze was also in the steeplechase for WSU. Hintze fell in the first water jump of the race, but recovered to finish with a time of 10:56/74, which was good enough to qualify her for the Big Sky Conference Championship at the end of the season.
Blaisdell said Hintze showed a lot of character by recovering from an early fall in the race.
“She had to get up from a tough break on the water jump,” Blaisdell said. “She got stepped on and knocked down and still was able to finish with a really good time.”
Also at the meet, freshman Jamie Stokes qualified for the conference meet in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:28.20.
Not all of WSU’s track and field team was in California. Some members traveled to Orem to take part in the Utah Valley Invitational, where six Wildcats qualified for the Big Sky Championship.
Kayla Blackford was the top collegiate qualifier in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:26.65. Tiffany Hellstrom also qualified for the conference meet with a throw of 153-02.25 in the javelin. Hellstrom was coming off of arm surgery.
Elisa Isakson was the final qualifier for WSU. She secured a spot in the Big Sky meet in the pole vault with a mark of 11-11.75.
Blaisdell said he was happy overall with the meet, but expects to see more qualify as the season continues.
“It was about what I expected for the first meet of the outdoor season,” Blaisdell said. “After taking a month off and as young as we are, it may take a meet or two to really get going.”
The men’s team picked up 18 conference qualifiers in its first meet of the season. Matt White, Isaac Akers, Cylor Morgan and the 4-by-400 relay team all secured wins for WSU.
WSU swept the 400-meter dash, with White coming in first, Darion Zimmerman taking second and Josh Peterson taking third place.
Akers won the 400-meter hurdles, and teammate Dustin Durfee came in second place in the event.
The 4-by-400 relay team was made up of Chrstian Barbiero, Akers, Durfee and Josh Peterson. They finished with a time of 3:17.36.
In the long jump, Morgan claimed first place with a jump of 23-09.75.
Men’s head coach Dan Walker said he was excited to get 18 conference qualifiers in the first met of the season.
“It was a super start to the season,” Walker said. “The sprinters, umpers and throwers performed well in Orem, and our distance guys were excellent at Stanford. We really had a great meet this weekend. It was a great day for the opening of the season.”
WSU will be in action again on Friday in Boise, Idaho, competing in the Idaho Cup.