Strong Showing at Air Force Quad for UW Track and Field

Jan. 31, 2009


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The University of Wyoming track and field teams bounced back from a tough Big 12/MWC Challenge and competed extremely well at the Don Barrett Air Force Duals in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday. Both teams walked away with a combined nine total champions.

Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls competed against the Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado, Colorado State and Northern Colorado. In the dual scoring meet the `Pokes were edged out by CSU by only four points while the Cowgirls were beat by CU by only seven points, both teams had a 3-1 record when they left the Cadet Fieldhouse.

"I was very happy with the way we competed today as a team, however, when you are as thin as we are you need to do the little things right in order to be the best," said UW head coach Don Yentes. "It was a vast improvement from last week, we had some very good performances today."

Leading the way for the `Pokes was senior Jake Shanklin who automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships with his 35lb weight throw of 70' 7.75". After his toss, Shanklin found himself in first-place but more importantly now owns the fourth-best throw in the nation. Shanklin was followed closely by fellow senior, Sam Lambert with his third-place finish and toss of 63' 2.75". Lambert along with his weight throw, set a new personal best in the shot put with his third-place finish and throw of 52'.

For the Cowgirl throwers, sophomore Amanda Aimone stepped back and watched the rest of the field come after her as she won the 20lb weight throw with her throw of 57' 11.25". Two freshman followed her as Elisa Etchemendy and Kaylee Beddes finished in 10th and 11th respectively.

"Jake and Sam had a solid day today to lead our throwers, with Sam just missing the provisional mark by only nine-inches," said assistant coach Paul Barrett. "Amanda was a little unlucky as she had two of her best throws called back as she fouled during them, but overall a very solid day for our throwers."

The sprinters and distance runners had a very strong day as a group with the Cowgirls leading the way with four individual titles and nine top-five finishes. The four titles went to freshman Lindsey Simmons (200-meter), sophomore Afiya Walker (800-meter), junior Emily Higgins (1-mile) and junior Jennifer Schmitz (60-meter hurdles). All four titles were won by one-second or less with Walker setting her personal best with a time of 2:18.37 in the 800-meter. Freshman Chantel Bernabo also had a very strong day for the Cowgirls as she placed third in both the 60-meter dash and in the 200-meter dash.

The Cowboys were not far behind with one individual title and seven top-five finishes with junior Kekoa Chavez leading the way with his sixth-best in UW history time of 48.78 in the 400-meter dash. Three sophomores set new personal best's as Seth Grossman placed second in the 1-mile run, along with Taylor Kelting with his fifth-place finish in the same race. Greg Miller finished second in the 3,000-meter run with his time of 8:36.51 to lead the `Pokes as they had three runners finish in the top-five.

"It was a very balanced day for our sprinters and distance runners today," said Yentes. "I was very happy with the way they competed against some of the teams we will see at conference."

The jumpers for the `Pokes were led by the defending MWC Champion, as sophomore Jeremiah James jumped his way to two first place finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Junior John Alderson was just behind James as he finished second in the long jump and third in the triple jump.

For the Cowgirls, junior Johnna Jeffries was two-inches from tying her personal best in the high jump as she ended the day in fourth-place and a mark of 5' 5".

"Johnna was very close today as she clipped her heels twice on the bar at 5-7," said assistant coach Quincy Howe. "Jeremiah's marks were solid but not where he was before the break, but it was still nice to see him compete and win even without his best stuff."

The multi-eventers had their first opportunity to show what they can do as two Cowboys and one Cowgirl took to the field. Junior Jay Petsch entered the second-day of competition in first-place after setting four personal best's in the first-four events. Petsch ended the day in second-place with an astounding 4,961 points, third best all-time. He finished first in three of the seven events and in the top-three in five of the seven. Freshman Henry Ferreira competed in his first heptathlon in almost two-years and finished in sixth-place with 3,906 points.

Sophomore Britney Jackson was the lone Cowgirl and finished the five-event pentathlon in fourth-place with her 3,186 total points, good for third-best all-time at UW. It culminated Jackson's first-ever multi-event day and a solid performance for the Cowgirls.

"Jay ended with six personal best's and a very good start to the season as he still has plenty of room to improve," said Howe. "For Henry and Britney it was nice to get the first one out of the way and under their belt as it's quite the accomplishment in itself to finish a heptathlon or pentathlon."

The Cowboys and Cowgirls will travel back down to Colorado Springs, Colo., as they will compete once again at the Air Force Invitational Friday and Saturday Feb. 13-14.