Falcon talons grip first place

Daniel Newman

The Falcon women reigned No.1 at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship.

The GNAC indoor track championships took place on Feb. 15 and 16 at Jackson’s Track in Nampa, Idaho, and the Falcon women came out on top in the competition, finishing with a total team score of 154 points, besting second place Central Washington University’s score of 150.

“One of the keys to our preparation for championship-level performances is our commitment to developing toughness, grit and a team-first attitude,” said assistant coach Chris Reed. “Many of our biggest contributors succeeded in multiple events, which demonstrates not only skill and talent but also a level of strength to be competitive event after event.”

Jesse Phan, senior, gained a new season opener record of 1:56 in the 800 at the Dempsey track. Jacky Chen | The Falcon

The Falcons did indeed have many athletes who succeeded in multiple events, including Scout Cai, who won the heptathlon for the third year in a row with a score of 3815 points. The heptathlon is a competition where athletes compete in five different events, and gain a certain number of point in each event depending on how well they do. Cai finished in the top three in all five events, winning the shot put and high jump. Kellie May also took fifth place in the competition. Her best finish was second place in the long jump.

Cai also had success in the pole vault and high jump competitions, finishing in third place and tying for fifth place with fellow Falcon Geneva Lehnert, respectively. Madison Licari also did well in the pole vault, finishing in fifth.

First-year Peace Igbonagwam and sophomore Renick Meyer were two other Falcons who had a big day. In the 60-meter run, Igbonagwam finished in second, running a time of 7.70, with Meyer right behind her in third place at 7.78. The same occurred in the long jump; Igbonagwam finished in first with a jump of 19 feet and 7.5 inches, while Meyer came close behind in second with a jump of 18 feet and 11.75 inches. Meyer also took third in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.80.

One of the Falcons’ best events on the day was the 200m, with Falcons Grace Bley, Jenna Bouyer and Igbonagwam finishing first, second and third.

The Falcons also did well in distance running. Kate Lilly and Kaylee Mitchell finished in second and third in the mile, and fourth and fifth in the 3000m. Katherine Walter finished in fourth place of the 5000m. The Falcons also finished second in the distance medley relay, featuring the team of Lilly, Mitchell, Krystal Kaufman and Kelsey Washenberger.

Though the Falcon men did not fare as well, they still achieved some good results, such as Jesse Phan’s third place finish in the 800m, finishing with a time of 1:55.90. The men also did well in the distance medley relay, finishing in fourth with the team of Phan, Colby Otero, Alec Llamas and Elius Graff with a time of 10:23.59. Shad Galloway’s ninth place finish in the 5000m rounded out the only other top ten placement at the meet for the Falcon men.

With only a few meets left for the indoor track season, the Falcons will continue to get ready for the outdoor track season. The first meet the two teams will take part in will take place on March 9, at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

All in all, Reed saw this weekend’s meet as a success for both teams, saying, “We have believed all year that we have a resilient and committed team and this weekend was confirmation of that. We are happy with what we have been able to do so far this indoor season and we feel confident it will translate outdoors.”