WWU’s individual champions: Seren Dances (Long Jump), Maddie Taylor (High Jump), J.T. Konrad (Pole Vault) PHOTO: WWU Athletics
3 Individual Titles Highlights First Day at GNAC
February 16, 2019
NAMPA, Idaho – Individual titles by Western Washington University student-athletes Maddie Taylor in the high jump, Seren Dances in the long jump and J.T. Konrad in the pole vault highlighted the Vikings performances during the first day of the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships held Friday at the Jacksons Indoor Track and Sports Complex at the Ford Idaho Center.
In addition to the three individual titles, there were 10 new entries into the WWU Indoor Track & Field top-10 record book and 12 runners placed in the top eight in the prelims of their event to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Through the first day of competition, the Viking men are in 2nd place with 42 points, just two points behind first-place Alaska Anchorage, and the WWU women are in 4th with 31 points, one point behind third-place Alaska Anchorage.
“Today was a really good day for the Vikings. Great competition, great spirit and the team really performed well,” said WWU’s 32nd-year head coach Pee Wee Halsell. “I am really proud of our three individual champions and how they performed, but overall it was a great team effort with several great performances. I am looking forward to tomorrow as we are looking to continue a great championships.”
The two-day championships conclude Saturday with the heptathlon events starting at 8:45 am MT and the final races (4x400 relay) are scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm MT.
KONRAD WINS POLE VAULT TITLE
Senior J.T. Konrad won the pole vault title, clearing 4.78m/15-8.25 on his second attempt, with Central Washington’s Braydon Maier taking three attempts to clear the same height. Both athletes attempted 4.93m/16-2, but were unsuccessful giving Konrad WWU’s ninth indoor pole vault title and first since a Viking won the title eight straight years from 2004-2011. Konrad joins Scott Romney (2004, 2006), Hunter Verner (2005), Tyler Thornbrue (2007) and Ryan Brown (2008-2011) as Vikings to win the GNAC Indoor Championships pole vault title. Freshman Christian Williams placed 8th to earn one team point, setting a PR by clearing 4.18m/13-8.5.
TAYLOR WINS HIGH JUMP AS VIKINGS GO 1-2
Junior Maddie Taylor won the women’s high jump clearing 1.69m/5-6.5 to become the first Viking in the 16-year history of the GNAC Indoor Championships to win the event. Taylor entered the meet with the top mark in the conference and ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II at 1.73m/5-8. Sophomore Heather Faretta made it a 1-2 sweep finishing 2nd with a PR by clearing 1.64m/5-4.5, earning All-GNAC honors and picking up eight team points. Freshman Aliyah Dawkins finished 8th at 1.59m/5-2.5 to round out the scoring that netted 19 points for the Vikings in the event.
DANCES TAKES HOME LONG JUMP TITLE
Redshirt freshman Seren Dances won the long jump setting a PR with a top mark of 7.02m/23-0.5, bring home 10 team points for the Vikings. The Port Townsend product became the second Viking to win the indoor long jump, and first since Kevin Yates in 2013-14. Freshman Ethan Sterkel recorded a massive PR of 6.97m/22-10.5 to finish 4th and record the 6th-best mark in WWU indoor history.
GALVEZ TAKES 2ND IN 5,000m
Junior Sophia Galvez placed 2nd in the women’s 5,000m, finishing in 18:15.80 to earn All-GNAC honors. In the men’s 5,000m, senior Dylan Hayes placed 6th finishing in 15:16.90 to earn three team points.
LUX PLACES 4TH IN WEIGHT THROW
Sophomore Avery Lux placed 4th in the weight throw to earn 5 team points, setting a PR at 16.32m/53-6.5. Lux remained fourth in WWU history while just missing out on All-GNAC honors.
DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAYS RECORD TOP TIMES
WWU’s entries in the 4,000m Distance Medley Relay each moved up in the WWU all-time top 10, with the men placing 2nd and the women 5th in the final running event of the first day of the championships. The men’s quartet of Liam Cossette, Mark Daniels, Macauley Franks and Colton Hoggarth finished in 10:19.33 for the 9th-best time in program history. Simon Fraser won the race in a meet record 9:58.18. The women’s DMR placed 5th in 12:22.87 for the 8th-best time in program history.
THREE HURDLERS MOVE ON TO FINALS
WWU had three of the 14 entries in the 60m Hurdles, and all three are moving on to the finals after placing in the top 8. JuniorCordell Cummings (Lake Stevens, WA/Arlington) placed 2nd in the qualifying in 8.42, 1/100th behind Northwest Nazarene’s Skyler Galgan. Cummings placed 3rd at last year’s GNAC Indoor Championships to earn First Team All-Conference honors. Freshman Koby Okezie was 5th in 8.52 and redshirt freshman Seren Dances finished 6th in 8.58.
TWO SPRINTERS ADVANCE TO FINALS
Junior Hannah Bradley set a PR while finishing 6th in the 60m prelims in 7.84. Bradley moves on to Saturday’s finals by besting her previous time of 7.86, moving her into a tie for 2nd in the WWU indoor record book. In the men’s 60m, freshman Koby Okezie made his collegiate debut in the race and finished 8th in the prelims in 7.12.
DANIELS LEADS THREE VIKINGS IN 400m FINALS
Freshman Mark Daniels finished 4th in the prelims of the 400m setting a PR in 49.65, the 6th-fastest time in WWU indoor history. He moves on to the finals, along with junior Cordell Cummings who clocked a PR of his own finishing 8th in 50.12, the 11th-fastest time in program history. Savannah Smith placed 7th in the prelims of the women’s 400m in 58.05.
KONRAD AND SAGER QUALIFY IN 800m
Sophomore Shawnee Konrad celebrated her birthday by qualifying 5th in the 800m prelims, recording a PR and the 4th-fastest time in WWU indoor history at 2:17.95. She bested her previous top mark of 2:23.25 set as a freshman. Senior Kyler Sager also qualified 5th in the men’s 800m, finishing in a time of 1:55.17. Sager finished 4th at last year’s GNAC Championships, just outside of earning all-conference honors.
RINEFORT IN 7TH AFTER FIRST DAY OF HEPTATHLON
Freshman Ian Rinefort is in 7th place out of 10 competitors after the first four events of the men’s heptathlon. Rinefort, who set the WWU indoor record with 4,805 points at the Candy Cane XI meet earlier this season, has 2,522 points with three events remaining. Rinefort excelled in the high jump, tying for 2nd clearing 1.83m/6-0, and will be looking to move up the leaderboard as a strong second-day scorer. Freshman Cooper Cummings is in 9th place with 2,289 points. Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis, a two-time First Team All-American in the event, holds a 106-point lead with 2,825 points.
DAWKINS 10TH IN PENTATHLON
Freshman Aliyah Dawkins finished 10th in the women’s pentathlon setting a PR with 2,767 points. She remains No. 6 in WWU indoor history after tallying 2,704 points at the season-opening Candy Cane XI in Cheney, Washington Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Seattle Pacific’s Scout Cai repeated as the GNAC Indoor pentathlon champion with a championships record 3,815 points.
-- WWU Track & Field --