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Post-Championship Comments

16 May

Well, I’m back at the hotel and figured that I’d give another more in-depth recap of what I thought about this weekend.

First of all, I want to throw out a big Thank You to the Vandal Boosters in Southern Idaho for throwing the dinner for the team. They all appreciated it very much and it was great.

I figured I’d sort of make some ‘awards’ for the meet, since we did have some really good performances…so here are my picks for some “Athletes of the Meet”

Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet:  Josh Dalton (Deary, Idaho)
Granted, Paul Dittmer, Markus Geiger, Sam Michener and the men’s 4x100m team were all great on the track, but I just have to say that winner who I probably least expected was Dalton. I think everyone knew that he was capable of a great run, but he went in as such a heavy underdog to the Utah State runner…who was in front of his home crowd on his own track…and the manner in which he came from behind to win that race…it was just awesome. On top of that, he also came back and filled in on a leg of the 4x400m relay just a short while later and ran really well.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Meet:  Lucas Pope (Hayden, Idaho)
This guy is very quietly one of the WAC’s top performers of the last two seasons. All he’s done is win every conference pole vault title since he arrived on campus. It’s tough being a vaulter, because you generally don’t do any other events, so I don’t think he’ll ever receive the kind of hoopla or award recognition that you would expect a four-time WAC Champion to receive. In what I would say is the most unpredictable of all track and field events, Pope has been extremely consistent, and that’s no small feat. Also major credit to Eugenio Mannucci (he won the men’s shot put on his last throw of the day), Beau Whitney (took third in both the discus and shot put after fouling in the hammer), and Elvie Williams (second in the long jump, second in the triple jump, fifth in the high jump, anchor of the champion 4×100 team).

Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet:  Heather Bergland (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Heather came into this competition ranked sixth and she did what she has always done, throughout her career…she performed. She ran a fantastic qualifying race, then another great finals race to finish third and earn first-team all-WAC in what was the final race of her Idaho career. She came up just a couple hundredths of a second off the NCAA Regional standard, but that shouldn’t detract from what she did this week. I have to give an EXTREMELY honorable mention here to Lauren Schaffer (just .48 seconds away from regional in the 800m, a personal best by a full second, and a great second-place finish).

Women’s Field Athlete of the Meet:  Lindsay Beard (Eugene, Ore.)
Like I said with Lucas Pope…the pole vault is a very unpredictable event…and the women’s portion this week was the perfect example. EVERYONE had trouble early on. Everyone except Lindsay, that is. She cleared all her early heights on first attempts, and when it came time to break ties, she shot to the top pretty quickly. For a true freshman to come into a big meet like this and appear to not even have any jitters or nervousness, that’s pretty impressive. You always want your athletes to have big performances at big times…and I know she really want to get over that 12-7.5 Regional height…but if she can continue to perform well at important meets, she’ll easily get that height and probably much more. More very honorable mentions for the women in this area…Darcy Collins didn’t have her best heptathlon score-wise, but she still came up big when she needed it and took second. Ellen Rouse did really well in the heptathlon, then came right back and threw really well in both the javelin and the shot put. Breeana Chadez came out in the high jump, cleared a season-high and scored two points she wasn’t supposed to score, which is always what you want to see at a conference meet.

Obviously, these aren’t the only great performances of the weekend…everyone, whether it was just one or two points or six or eight, contributed to what the team did, so they all deserve credit. Also, for those of you keeping track at home, take notice that almost all these athletes are young and that most of them are going to be back next year…so all the Vandal fans are going to have some fun over the next few years keeping track of these kids.

WAC Outdoor Final

16 May

Great day for the Vandals. The men came up just short…but there’s nothing to be ashamed about there…Utah State had just a great meet. The best part is that when you look at the scorers on the men’s side, you’ll notice that most of them are going to be back next year, so that’s really exciting.

The women showed that even with our top girls at home redshirting, they weren’t just going to accept it and give up. Those freshmen and sophomores (and a few juniors) fought hard and scrapped for every little point. And if you’re told me coming down here that we were only going to beat one team this weekend…I think you can guess who I’d want that to be…so I can tell you that the lady Vandals are leaving Logan happy this weekend.

Check out http://www.GoVandals.com shortly for my complete recap.

Final Team Scores:

Men:
1. Utah State – 181
2. Idaho – 138
3. Louisiana Tech – 130
4. Fresno State – 101
5. Boise State – 97

Women:
1. Louisiana Tech – 150
2. Nevada – 129.5
3. Fresno State – 119
4. Utah State 112.5
5. Hawai’i – 105.5
6. New Mexico State – 88
7. Idaho – 58
8. Boise State 54.50

Utah State pulling away…

16 May

It looks like the Vandal men are going to have to settle for second. We needed to make up some more ground, but right now, they’re first through fifth in the 5,000m (which is in progress) and we’re down about 15 points. Great effort by our guys this week.

Women are currently in seventh (ahead of Boise State) with 55 points. They still have the 4x400m relay remaining.

More gold coming

16 May

Men’s Shot Put:
If there wasn’t any pressure, there wouldn’t be anything really exciting to write about. Sophomore Eugenio Mannucci (Viterbo, Italy) sat in second place behind Utah State’s Bryce Hall entering the final round and Mannucci answered the call with a lifetime-best 59-5.75 to win the event. Junior Beau Whitney (New Meadows, Idaho) came in third at 52-6 and junior James Rogan (Eagle, Idaho) took fourth at 52-5.5.

Men’s Triple Jump:
Elvie Williams (Tacoma, Wash.) scored his fourth total event, as he nailed a lifetime-best 50-3.25 in the triple jump and moved into eight all-time at Idaho and took second. Andrew Blaser (Boise, Idaho) took eighth in the event with a jump of 43-5.25.

Deary, Idaho?

16 May

Men’s 800m:
There must be something in the water in Deary, Idaho (anybody know where that is?)…because sophomore walk-on Josh Dalton just put on a show in the men’s 800m. He stuck with the front pack for about 85% of the race, then somehow kicked it in, slipped inside and blew by the competition over the final 20 meters to take home gold in 1:52.00 (a HUGE personal best). Awesome race for Josh!

Cesar Barquero (Lima, Peru) also ran a 1:54.79 and took fourth.

Women’s 800m:
Freshman Lauren Schaffer (Boise, Idaho) took second in the women’s 800m with a one-second personal-best time of 2:10.93 (with an altitude adjustment, that just might be a Regional time). She ran a great race and caught Utah State’s Elaine Connolly on the back stretch to move into second.

Men’s Pole Vault:
Bad news for Mike Carpenter (Canby, Ore.), as he no-heighted in the vault…but he had to come straight over to the event after running the second leg of Idaho’s champion 4x100m relay team. It took a lot of guts, but you could tell he was just gassed. On the upside, Lucas Pope (Hayden, Idaho) won a jump-off to take the pole vault title, while freshman Jeremy Klas (Moscow, Idaho) took third. Both jumpers cleared 16-0.75.

Men’s & Women’s 1500m:
Freshman James Clark (Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada) had a great effort to go third in the 1500m with a time of 3:53.21. Fellow freshman Teegan Schoch (Kelowna, B.C., Canada) ran strong and came in fourth at 4:40.78. With the altitude adjustment, she becomes the first Vandal woman to regionally qualify this year! Congrats!

Most recent team standings show Idaho in second with 106 points, while Utah State leads with 130.

REPEAT

16 May

Paul Dittmer (Hanstedt, Germany) led from start to finish and exerted himself as the top hurdler in the WAC. He just ran a 14.03 to make it back-to-back 110m hurdles titles. Sophomore Andrew Blaser took eighth in the race at 14.94.

Heather Bergland (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) just stepped up big-time in what will be the last race of her career. She entered this competition ranked sixth and just finished third with a 13.93 to earn first-team all-WAC honors.

VANDAL GOLD

16 May

Ladies and gentlemen…your first Idaho champion(x4)!

Sam Michener to Mike Carpenter to Dominic Schmidt to Elvie Williams….never trailed that race and won the men’s 4x100m in a time of 40.65.

Great job guys!

Women’s and men’s 1500m on the track now.

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