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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Track and field competes at GNAC tournament

By Hailey Palmer

An up-and-down meet was highlighted by a first place individual finish for junior Anna Paradee in the pole vault at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships.

The Western men and women’s track and field teams competed at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 17-18 in Nampa, Idaho.

The women’s team compiled 51.5 points to finish sixth overall and the men’s team finished with 64 points to place seventh overall.

Track and field head coach Pee Wee Halsell said the meet didn’t start as planned, but both teams improved as it continued.

“It started out slow and then we got better,” Halsell said. “We finished up strong and competed well.”

“[Allen] is one of the most powerful and explosive female athletes we’ve seen around here.”

Eric Dudley

Halsell said some of the miscues on the first day could be attributed to a team primarily of underclassmen and a banked indoor track. A banked track is shorter than an outdoor track and the corners are angled from the ground.

Paradee won the women’s pole vault by setting a new personal record of 3.83 meters cleared, which is second in school history. Her previous record was 3.78 meters.

Halsell said the goal for both teams was to beat its current standing coming into the meet and the women’s team was able to do so.

“We ended up scoring more points than we were projected to on the women’s side,” Halsell said.

Freshman sprinter Macie Allen set a new school record in the women’s 60 meters with a time of 7.77 seconds.

Allen said she was happy with her performance after her senior season in high school didn’t go as planned because of a leg injury.

“It’s really satisfying to be able to run healthy,” Allen said. “It feels good to be able to compete and not go into a race feeling scared.”

Assistant coach Eric Dudley said Allen’s potential is something coaches can recognize before the athlete does.

“[Allen] is one of the most powerful and explosive female athletes we’ve seen around here,” Dudley said.

On the men’s side, senior Nate van Tuinen broke the school record in the long jump with a 7.21 meter jump. The previous school record was 7.19 meters.

Junior Somit Chhim in the triple jump, and senior thrower Brandon Pless in the shot put, both placed second in their events, while earning All-GNAC honors for their performances.

Dudley said most of the team, along with the coaching staff, is looking forward to outdoor competition.

“We’re going to get some of our strongest athletes back in play,” Dudley said. “A lot of the best athletes on the team weren’t racing this indoor season.”

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