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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Through rain and wind, Western’s annual track & field meet is still a go

Western Washington University long distance runner Sophia Galvez competes in the 1500 meter race at the WWU Team Invite at Civic Stadium. // Photo by Oliver Hamlin

By Aryonna Willoughby

Western’s track and field team competed against the weather along with three other schools at their first home meet of the season on Friday, April 5 at Civic Stadium.

Heavy rain and strong winds plagued the majority of the meet, causing technical difficulties with the automatic timing system, leading to some events being temporarily delayed. However, that didn’t stop both the Western men’s and women’s track teams from delivering solid performances at the 2nd Annual WWU Team Invitational.

The men’s team took first place decisively with 248.5 points, beating the University of British Columbia who had the next closest score with 189 points, as well as Saint Martin’s University, and Seattle Pacific University. The women’s team took second place with 184.5 points, closely falling behind UBC (211), but winning over Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific who won 101.5 and 50 points, respectively.

“Some really good things [happened] and they competed well, and that’s what this meet was about. It was more about the competition,” Western’s track and field head coach Pee Wee Halsell said of his team’s efforts. “We’d love to get the times too, but it just wasn’t the day to get all the great performances, but we did have some good performances.”

Halsell also noted the impressive performances of second-year long-jumper Seren Dances and first-year sprinter Karlington Anunagba.

Dances won the men’s long-jump with a distance of 7.07 meters followed by first-year Ethan Sterkel, jumping a distance of 7.01 meters, a new personal record. Dances and Sterkel are ranked second and third, respectively, in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Anunagba sprinted away with first place in the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.77 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in Western’s history, according to the team’s webpage. Anunagba is top-ranked in the GNAC and ranked in the top 50 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II.

Viking fourth-year Jacob Ringold secured a first-place win and second best mark in the GNAC in the triple-jump with a distance of 13.86 meters.

On the women’s team, third-year Lexi Perry vaulted 3.55 meters in the pole vault, winning the event and becoming the ninth-best pole vaulter in Western’s history, according to the team’s webpage.

Second-year Talia Dreicer won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10 minutes 58.11 seconds, recording an NCAA II provisional mark and earning the fifth-best mark in program history and in the GNAC.

Third-year Chanelle Eddy dominated on multiple fronts, winning the shot put with a throw of 12.52-meters, a new personal record, and clinching first place in the discus with a toss of 44.01-meters.

Western’s javelin throwers also earned top marks at the meet, despite battling strong winds.

“I think we did pretty much as well as we could provided the weather, the wind especially. It was kind of a perpendicular wind for us, which isn’t great for javelin throwing. That’s probably the worst kind of wind you can have,” first-year Paige Shimkus said.

Shimkus won the event with a throw of 43.48 meters and third-year Raquel Pellecer came in second with 42.57 meters.

“We were all a happy 20 to 10 feet under what we could probably hit on a better day, but you know, it’s a sport and it’s part of it,” Shimkus said.

The athletes enjoyed competing at home for the first time this season, in lieu of the April showers.

“It feels good to see more familiar faces because it’s easy for people to come and support us,” second-year Natalie Vetto said.

The team’s next and final home meet of the season is set to take place on April 26-27.

Until then, the Vikings will once again take the track this Saturday, April 13, at the Jay Hammer Track and Field Meet hosted by Saint Martin’s in Lacey.

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