NAMPA, Idaho—The Seattle Pacific women’s team ended the first day of competition at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track & field championships with the lead, thanks to a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium in the pentathlon.
At the break, the Falcons’ lead stands at 48 points, with Central Washington second at 36 points. Pre-meet favorites Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser are fourth with 23 points and fifth with 22 points. Saint Martin’s is tied for sixth with 11 points, and Western Washington is eighth with 10 points.
Freshman Scout Cai (above/photo courtesy SPU Athletics) scored 3499 points to win the pentathlon title, followed by fellow freshman Brooke Penner, who scored 3461 points, and sophomore Geneva Lehnert, who was third with 3411 points.
Cai won the pentathlon despite not winning a single event. She started her day by running 9.49 in the 60 hurdles for 810 points, then took the overall lead for good after the high jump, where she cleared 5-5.25 (1.66m).
In the shot put, she threw 31-10.25 (9.70m) for 510 points, then jumped 16-8 (5.08m) in the long jump, before running 2:22.33 for 792 points.
Lehnert won both the high and long jumps, clearing 5-6.5 (1.69m) and going 18-5.25 (5.62m) in the long jump in her first ever multi-event competition.
Penner tied Cai for second in the high jump, and was second in the 800 in 2:22.14.
The winner said afterwards, "We came in wanting to (go 1-2-3), and it's just amazing that we did that. I just came into each one focused on that event, and didn't think about the next events coming up. I think that helped me with my nerves. I just listened to the coaches and what they had to tell me."
Ali Anderson (3378) and HarLee Ortega (3271) of Central Washington finished fourth and fifth in the competition.
The Falcons got ten more points from long jumper Kyra Brannan, as the senior broke the 19-foot barrier for the first time indoors, jumping 19-0.5 (5.80m) to beat teammate Lehnert, who went 18-3.25 (5.57m).
Central Washington got points in the long jump, as Anderson (17-8/5.38m), Ortega (17-5.25/5.31m) and Juliana Joy (17-2.75/5.25m) went 3-5-t6 in the competition.
In other women’s finals, Central’s Stephanie Rexus was third in the 5000, running 17:56.30. Seattle Pacific’s distance medley relay took third in a time of 12:23.31. Kirby Neale of Saint Martin’s was third in the weight throw with a best of 54-1.75 (16.50m).
The men’s team competition has Saint Martin’s tied for second at the break with 25 points, as pre-meet favorite Alaska Anchorage was 48. Western Washington stands fourth with 23 points, and Central Washington is fifth with 21 points. Seattle Pacific is tenth with 1 point at the end of day one.
Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith set a conference record in winning the high jump with a clearance of 7-3 (2.21m), which gives him the national lead in Division II.
In other finals, Saint Martin’s Craig Boyle was third in the pole vault with a clearance of 14-10 (4.52m). Luke Plummer of Central Washington was third in the long jump with a best of 23-10.75 (7.28m). Armando Tafoya of Central won the men’s weight throw with a best of 57-0 (17.37m) with Kauanoe Vanderpoel of Saint Martin’s second with a throw of 56-1.25 (17.10m), and Western Washington’s Brandon Pless third at 55-5.5 (16.90m).
In the heptathlon, Central’s Kodiak Landis leads after four events with a score of 2893.
At Colorado Springs, Chase Smith of the University of Washington won the pole vault competition at the Air Force Open meet on the campus of the US Air Force Academy.
Smith vaulted 17-11 (5.46m) to take the MPSF conference lead in that event, along with the victory and a new personal best.
The Huskies’ Liz Quick was second in the women’s pole vault with a best of 12-11.75 (3.96m).
In Flagstaff, Arizona, Washington State’s Brock Eager won the men’s weight throw at the NAU Tune Up meet with a personal best toss of 66-8.5 (20.33m), while teammate Travis Pickett was third with a best of 59-8.25 (18.19m).
Eager’s mark ranks him #2 in the MPSF heading into next weekend’s conference championship meet at the Dempsey Indoor in Seattle.
NOTE: The GNAC, Seattle Pacific, and the US Air Force Academy contributed to this report.