Track kicks off outdoor season

Daniel Newman

The photo above features Kate Lilly, pictured above in a meet last year, will run the mile at the NCAA indoor national championships on March 8 and 9.

The Falcon men’s and women’s track teams kicked off their outdoor track season last weekend with the Ed Boitano Invitational at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.
The Falcon men finished in sixth place among the teams, and women finished in seventh.

The Falcon women also had a new addition in this meet: sophomore Dania Holmberg, who sat out the indoor track season due to an injury. She had a successful first meet back, winning the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:46.70. Holmberg also tied for third in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:28.65.

Assistant coach Chris Reed said that Holmberg’s injury was not necessarily a serious one, so “the biggest challenge for her was to find that competitive fire and drive. Saturday’s race was a good demonstration of that and, hopefully, will be a sign of a great season ahead for her.

Sedona McNerney also finished near the top in both races, achieving two personal best times, finishing in third in the 1500, and in fifth in the 800. Other Falcon participants in these races were Amber McGraw, who finished in sixth in the 1500, and McKenzie Diaz, who finished in eighth in the 800 and tenth in the 1500.

On the field side of things, Madison Licari took fourth place in the pole vault, clearing a distance of 3.05 meters, or just over 10 feet.

For the men, they saw the steeplechase for the first time in the season. The steeplechase is a race where the runners have to go over and around different obstacles in their way. It was a race that the Falcons were ready to handle, as Jared Putney won the race, running it in 9:47.13. Fellow first-years Colby Otero and Brayden Schultz were right behind him, finishing in third and fifth places.

“Those three guys are all freshmen and are all roommates, so there is a unity behind their commitment to learning this new event,” Reed said. “We have been working on it since the fall, and while there are certainly still many things to iron out, it was a nice debut overall for that crew.”

Elsewhere, Jesse Phan took third place in the 800m run, finishing it in 2:01.97. Elius Graff took sixth in the race, and Ben Hansen came in ninth. Graff also took fourth in the 1500m, with a time of 4:07.65. Shad Galloway finished in seventh with a personal best time, while Hansen took tenth place.

In the 4x400m, the team of Phan, Alec Llamas, Silas Newby and Shayne Carpenter took third, posting a time of 3:34.84. Carpenter also took fifth in the 400m hurdles.

Newby also had a good day, taking home fourth in the triple jump, with a jump of 12.66 meters, or 41.5 feet. Newby also finished eighth in the 200m run.

Up next for the Falcons are the PLU Open, at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, the Doris Heritage Track Festival at West Seattle Stadium and the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State University.

“It was a relatively small group that competed this past weekend, so we will see improvement when we start putting the whole squad out there. We are in a heavy training period right now across all of our event groups, so when that training sets in, we anticipate big performances,” Reed said.

The DII indoor track championships will also be taking place this upcoming weekend in Pittsburgh, Kansas. Representing the Falcons will be Scout Cai in the pentathlon and the pole vault, Kate Lilly in the mile, and Peace Igbonagwam in the long jump.