Western Washington University’s junior indoor throwers Raine Westfall and Katie Potts opened their 2022-23 indoor track and field season by setting various indoor program records on Dec. 10 in Spokane.
“It was a good feeling to see my teammate Raine break her previous school record in the weight throw,” Potts said.
Westfall set the Western indoor weight throw program record while Potts set it for indoor shot put.
Potts and Westfall aren’t the only members of Western indoor throwing to make the all-time records list this season.
“Our throw’s crew this year is something special,” Potts said. “Raine and I broke school records and two of our men’s throwers made the program record all-time list for the weight throw.”
Sophomore indoor athlete Miller Campbell set the fifth-highest record in Western weight throw history while freshman Angelo Ramos set the seventh.
Western throwing isn’t alone in setting top-program marks. During the season’s second meet on Jan. 14, indoor track and field set 15 new top-10 all-time Western records. The 800-meter runners set five records alone.
This included junior indoor athlete Marian Ledesma and sophomore Sophie Wright who clocked in the second and eighth best times in the Western 800-meter. Also adding to the all-time list in the 800, sophomore indoor athlete Will Henry set the third highest mark while freshman indoor athletes Jonah Bloom and Connor Palmen moved into the sixth and seventh spots, respectively.
Other Western top-10 records were set by athletes in the 60-meter by indoor sophomore athletes Tyrone Woodard and Noah Johnson who set Western’s third- and seventh-best times.
Other top-10 all-time records from Jan. 14 include the following events: mile, high jump, long jump, 1000-meter, 3000-meter and shot put.
These records were set by:
Sophomore indoor athlete Sophie Wright and Mia Crocker with Western’s fifth- and sixth-best mile times
Junior indoor athlete Jessica Neal with Western’s sixth-best high jump
Junior indoor athlete Matty Lagerwey with Western’s fifth-best long jump
Junior indoor athlete Drew Weber with Western’s fastest 1000 (since 2009 in the non-championship distance event)
Junior indoor athlete Andrew Oslin with Western’s eighth-fastest 3000
Freshman indoor athlete Mara Parks with Western’s eighth-farthest shot put throw.
Among these record setting athletes is sophomore indoor athlete Caitlyn Cheney who entered the season hoping to improve her 200-meter time.
“I definitely want to PR in the 200,” Cheney said before setting a top-10 program record in the event. “Last year was a little rough for my 200, so I’m hoping to get that time down.”
Everyone on the team is supportive, said Cheney.
“Katie and the older girls set such a good example for me as a freshman,” she said.
According to Western’s head strength and conditioning coach Damien Fisher, the two all-time records set by Potts and Westfall are proof of immense improvement.
“They’ve worked like crazy these last few years,” Fisher said. “Shot was not a strong event for Katie in high school, and Raine had never thrown a weight before entering college.”
Breaking program records isn’t the main focus of the season, however, according to Potts.
“I want our women’s team to win our first GNAC conference title,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind, more than breaking records.”
Last season, the women’s indoor track & field was on the verge of a Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, finishing third on the podium just behind Western Oregon and Simon Fraser.
“The primary goal for the women’s team for several years now has been to win a conference championship,” Fisher said. “We’ve been able to win a few on the men’s side in recent years and the women have come so close.”
Western track and field head coach Ben Stensland is excited to see what the women’s team can achieve this season following their strong start.
“This women’s team is something special, and I think we’re just getting started,” Stensland said. “The sky's the limit. In the most excited way, I have no idea what they’re capable of, and I can’t wait to see what comes from this season.”
Western’s indoor track and field team is able to achieve success by prioritizing personality.
“The main thing that I want to focus on is establishing a culture of positivity,” T.J. Garlatz, the team’s distance coach, said. “Having an athlete execute a workout, obviously that’s important, but if they’re not having fun and supporting each other, then we’re fighting a losing battle.”
Potts enjoys competing in Western’s track and field program.
“I feel very fortunate to be a part of a program that values who I am as a person more than who I am as an athlete,” she said.
Theron Danielson (he/him) is a sports and recreation reporter for The Front this quarter. He is in his third year, majoring in journalism with a minor in film. His writing interests include sports, radio and student-led events. He enjoys musical theater, watching anime and yelling at the TV while watching sports.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @therondanielson