2007 WAC Track Championships--Day 2 Guide

With a solid Day One behind them, the Boise State track team goes for WAC titles today in both men and women at Jackson's Track in Nampa. Action is about to get underway, and we have a complete guide to today's competition.

The Northridge and Idaho men were the prohibitive favorites going into this weekend's WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa. On paper, the Matadors were expected to score 171 points to Moscow's 162, with Boise State a distant 135. The host Broncos made enough headway yesterday (gaining 14 points) to make it interesting at the top. After the first day of competition at Jackson's Track, Coach Mike Maynard's team is now 22 behind Idaho's expected total and 29 behind Northridge.

The team scores entering Day Two show the Vandals leading as expected with 59 points, with surprising Utah State (44) in second place. Boise State (31) enters today's competition two points ahead of Northridge, with Louisiana Tech (22) looking up at the rest.

In the women's competition, favorite Northridge has the lead with 53 points, but the Bronco women did well on Day One and have 38 points. Louisiana Tech is in third with 37 points, followed by Hawai'i with 25.5, Nevada with 20.5, Utah State and Idaho in a tie for sixth place with 20 points each, New Mexico State with 13 and Fresno State with 6.

Boise State freshman Heigo Nurmsalu gained heavily on favorite Justin Johnson of Cal State-Northridge, making today's heptathlon final a must-see. Johnson leads With 3,078 points to Nurmsalu's 3,000. Boise State's Eric Demers is 83 points ahead of his season best, and sits in sixth place with 2,801 points. Logan Moore of Utah State (2,938) is also mounting a strong challenge, as is Robert Robinson of Northridge (2,851). John Strang of Utah State (2,840 and Idaho's Ian Snook (2,603) round out the field.

Three events remain for these warriors, and the heptathlon gets underway shortly at Jackson's Track. Heptathletes will compete today in the 60-meter hurdles, the Pole vault and the 1,000-meter run. Johnson and Moore specialize in the hurdles and will score big points in the first event this morning. Nurmsalu is the third best pole vaulter in the WAC and should close the gap by the second event today. The league title will come down to who wins the 1,000 meters. With Demers' outstanding effort yesterday, he has a legitimate shot at the top five.

If the men's race is close by the time the 60-meters is run tonight, Northridge will likely bury the competition. The Matadors have 3rd seed Anthony Brown (6.82), Brandon Ruffin, the fourth fastest qualifier (6.90) and 5th seed Bradley Ike (6.95) set to score big points tonight. Louisiana Tech sophomore Mike Coleman is the top seed, having run a 6.74 this year. Marlon Douglas (6.94) carries the banner for the Broncos as the fifth fastest qualifier. DJ Smith of Utah State (6.78), Idaho's Mike Carpenter (6.95) and Tech's Deron Trotter (6.99) will also dash for the finish.

In the 400, Boise State's Kyle Christoffersen (48.54) has a chance at a WAC title. Besides going for the win, his task is to defeat Allen Lindsay of Northridge (48.98). Freshman Sean Chaney-Waller (48.87) has already scored points for the Broncos and will try to add more in the 400. Albert Fullwood of Louisiana Tech (48.70) is the #2 seed, joined in the final by teammates Jarrith Jones (49.04) and Jamaal London (49.11), and Utah State sophomore Nick Karren (49.05).

Idaho and Boise State are both trying to catch Northridge, so the fight for the top of the 800-meter medal ceremony looks to help settle that score. The Vandals bring #1 seed and top qualifier Bastien Tardy (1:54.51) and senior Kevin Potter (1:55.69) against Boise State's Caleb Cazier (1:55.25) and Matt Schmasow (1:55.57), the #2 and #3 qualifiers. Corey Denstel did not run a particularly good preliminary (1:56.14) but could be a factor. Utah State qualified three in the 800 final—-freshman Andrew Niccoli (1:55.74) and seniors Emon Williams (1:56.27) and Craig Bown (1:56.52).

Yet another battle between the Broncos and Vandals will be the mile run that Could be very tight at the finish. Only four seconds separate the top six seeds. Ty Axtman (4:15.97) and Cody Eaton (4:16.75) will try to hold off Idaho's Michael Thompson (4:16.92), Kevin Merkling (4:17.23) and Jeremiah Johnston (4:18.05). Brandon Christoffersen (4:24.24) is the 8th seed. Utah State's junior Ben Kessen (4:19.84), Aaron Clements (4:22.47) and Jared Glenn (4:30.62) hope to shake things up.

Boise State junior Cody Eaton will need to score well in the 3,000-meter run. He's the fourth seed with a best time of 8:42.54, behind overwhelming favorite Kevin Friesen of Idaho (8:21.75), 2nd seed Manuel Ruiz of Northridge (8:27.89) and Utah State's Tony Jones (8:29.77) and Seth Wold (8:32.67). Cameron Lockard (9:17.72) would have to have a career best to score points. However, the Broncos finished second in the WAC in cross country this year and Coach Maynard is entering four of those runners in today's final who have not run the 3,000 this year. Veterans Ty Axtman and Brandon Christoffersen lead the contingent that also includes sophomore Darren Strong and freshman Derek Wanders.

Idaho also brings Matt Racine (8:52.16), senior Michael Thompson (8:59.63), Jeremiah Johnston (No time) and Diego Moreno-Guzman to the fray. Vance Twitchell of Utah State (8:45.58) is the #6 seed; the Aggies also hope that Freshman Jared Glenn (9:07.53) scores points and have Ben Kessen, Andrew Niccoli and Aaron Clements entered as well. Louisiana Tech has four runners that have experience in the 3,000 this year—10th seed Jace Benoit (9:05.19), senior Tim Marshall (9:05.52) and juniors Zach Schuler (9:12.60) and Nathan Davis (9:13.97).

Northridge will try to score heavily in the 60-meter hurdles. Thomas Ross (8.00) and Anthony Brown (8.03) each won their preliminary heats and are the favorites; they'll be joined in the final by senior Justin Johnson. Sterling Small of Boise State ran a superb 8.12 in his first race this year to grab the fourth fastest qualifying time. Louisiana Tech's John Kent (8.11) and Wendell Woods (8.14) and Utah State enior Scott Bell (8.14) complete the final field.

Zacharias Arnos of Boise State is a slight favorite in the triple jump that will be a Close competition. Teammate Wendell Lawrence and Cal State Northridge's Rolando Felizola and Awet Hagos figure to battle for the top. Boise State's David Walden hopes to sneak into the scoring as the ninth seed. #5 is Louisiana Tech senior Matthew Craig. Idaho's David Holmon and Matt Brady are seeds eight and ten, respectively. Northridge has two others fighting for position— Jonathan Moore (the 7th seed) and 12th seed DaShalle Andrews. 10th seed Blake Hadfield of Utah State is also entered.

Arnos will also compete in the long jump, where he is the eighth seed with a top leap of 22 feet, 5.25 inches. Nurmsalu is entered in this event as well but his status is uncertain. Felizola of Northridge (24-5.5) is the runaway favorite, with Matthew Craig of Louisiana Tech (23-6.25) and Idaho's Kevin Pabst (23-6) providing Felizola's closest competition. The Matadors could all but clinch the men's title with a solid performance in this event. Thomas Ross (23-2.5), Andrews (23-0.5), Johnson (22-7) and Moore (22-4.5) are also expected to score. Utah State's Hadfield (22-8) is the lone representative in the event for the Aggies.

Russ Winger of Idaho is ranked #1 in the nation, so it's no surprise that he's the favorite in the shot put by over six feet. Erik Whittsitt is the #3 seed. Simon Wardhaugh is also entered in the event but has not competed in the shot this year. Others include #2 Tomas Fajardo of Northridge, #4 Jason Morgan of Louisiana Tech, Idaho's Matthew Wauters who has already won the weight throw, #6 Kev Liu of Utah State, 7th seed Joseph Fraijo of Northridge, then James Rogan of Idaho at #8, followed by Derek Cooper of Northridge, Clyde Smith of Louisiana Tech, #11 seed Tyler Ellis of Utah State and Idaho's Nate Rosenau, Marcus Mattox and Beau Whitney.

Johnson of Northridge is the slight favorite in the high jump over Boise State's David Walden; Johnson has cleared 6 feet, 9.5 inches while Walden has a top mark of 6-9. Nurmsalu has pulled out of the heptathlon, so his status is uncertain, but he was the fifth seed in the high jump. Casey Parker of Utah State is another top competitor (6-8.75). Others in the field this afternoon are Awet Hagos of Northridge (6-6.75), Jonathan Marler (6-4.75) and Snook (6-0.75) from Idaho, Owen Morse (6-2.75) and Robinson (6-0.75) from Northridge and Moore (5-11.5) from Utah State.

Northridge has another title hopeful in pole vaulter Sean Jones, who has cleared 16 feet, 6.75 inches this season. The Broncos would lose valuable points if 4th seed Nurmsalu is unable to compete. Logan Meyer would be the lone Bronco representative, who has cleared 15-7. Idaho freshman Mike Carpenter Will challenge Jones, having topped 16-1.75 this year. Utah State's David Loomis (15-1), Palmer Hawkins (15 feet) and Matt Toone (also 15 feet) and Northridge's Corey Gosser and Anthony Orozco (both 14-7.5) and Justin Johnson round out the pole vault field.

In a battle this tight, the men's title could come down to the last event which is Traditionally a relay race. This year, the 4 x 400-meter relay is the last event scheduled. Northridge has the advantage with the WAC's top time of 3 minutes, 13.8 seconds. Utah State is the closest challenger with 3:14.32. Louisiana Tech (3:17.22), Boise State (3:19.09) and Idaho (3:19.77) are well off the pace. The Bronco team of Caleb Cazier, Sean Chaney-Waller, Matt Schmasov and Kyle Christoffersen will try to alter things.

For the women, Louisiana Tech and Northridge will battle in the 400-meter final with seven of the eight finalists. Shelese Ruffin of Northridge had the fastest qualifying time of 55.47, but Tech's Nina Gilbert (53.29) and Krystal Cole (55.52) are the two top seeds. Nataucha Lowry is Boise State's lone finalist with a season best of 57.21. Others vying for the crown tonight are Tech's Miriam Barnes (56.19), Kamelia Story (56.21) and El Charrita Reynolds (56.77) along with Krystal Quinn (56.24) of Cal State-Northridge.

Defending triple jump champion Eleni Kafourou of Boise State goes for her second win of the WAC Championships this afternoon. Kafourou captured the long jump title yesterday for the Broncos. Senior Sanda Anane of New Mexico State enters as the favorite with a top mark of 43 feet, five inches this season to Kafourou's 42.875. Theodora Xylaki of Boise State (39-2.5) is the fifth seed this afternoon. Others competing will be Nevada's Ashley Mathis (40-4.25) and Sherena Smith (38-9), Lashana Verdon from Cal State-Northridge (39-3.75), Louisiana Tech's Krystal Cole (38-4) and Christiana Tupper (37-8.75), New Mexico State sophomore Isabel Chea (37-0.5) and Fresno State's Lauren Archie (36-9).

Another Bronco title hopeful is senior Eleni Ypsilanti, who carries a top mark of 64 feet, 6.5 inches in the women's weight throw. Teammate Annika Hjelm is a top prospect as well (57-5.5) for Coach Maynard's Broncos. Hjelm could really help the Bronco cause by beating Northridge's two entrants, Raquel Sola (59-4.25) and Jere' Summers (58-4.75). Novelle Murray of Hawai'i will give Ypsilanti all she can handle with a season best of 64 feet, 1.75 inches. Others entered are Fresno State's Aspen Marshall (57-9.75) and Amanda Rollin (54-5.25), Meghan Weaver of Hawai'i (54-9.25), Nevada's Inger Appanatis (54-4.75) and Nicole McClure of New Mexico State (53-9.75).

Idaho senior Melinda Owen will be a highlight of the meet with her season best of 13 feet, 5.75 inches towering above the competition in the pole vault. Owen's closest competitor, Kat Duhadway of Utah State (12-5.5) is over a foot below. Boise State's best hope in the event is freshman Annelise Bertleson (11-11.75). #3 seed Samantha Modeste of Fresno State (12-4) is followed by Bree Ann Piva of Nevada (12-3.5), Hawai'i sophomore Jessica Trujillo (12 feet even), Andrea Greenman of Fresno (11-9.75), Jocelyn Do of Northridge (11-6.25), Kirstin Flesher of Utah State (11-1.75) and junior Krystal Quinn from Northridge, who has a season best of 11 feet 0.25 inches.

Boise State's Kayleen McDowell is the 2nd seed in the 800 meters with a top time of 2:13.76. She will challenge Louisiana Tech's Miram Barnes, who ran a sizzling 2:12.27 in qualifying last night. Boise State's Leah Hover snuck into the fray with a 2:18.04. LaNaya Wattree ran a season best 2:12.37 last night and teammate Charlotte Schonbeck (2:14.25) will also figure prominently. Other finalists are New Mexico State's Beth Sandoval (2:13.70), Utah State's Amy Egan (2:16.53) and Zinzi Evans of Fresno State (2:16.07).

Breanna Sande is yet another hopeful in the mile for Boise State, with a top time of 5:10.44. Jennie Twitchell of Utah State is the prohibitive favorite after qualifying heats last evening. She bested the field by six seconds, turning in a time of 5:04.34. Kendra Hernandez of the Broncos (5:14.96) hopes to score some valuable points for her team. Idaho expects to score big in the mile, with Bevin Kennelly (5:04.50), Breanna Chipney (5:10.94), Allix Lee-Painter (5:09.66) and Melinda Ouwerkerk (5:14.57) all in tonight's final. Other finalists are Utah State's Alexis Meyer (5:07.55) and Erin Stratton (5:08.59) and New Mexico State's Ann Gagliardi (5:13.45).

Becky Guyette hopes to score her second win of the Championships in tonight's 3,000-meter run. Guyette left the rest of the field in her dust last night in the 5,000-meter final. She owns the top time in the 3,000 this season, completing the distance in 9:49.66 in the United Heritage Invitational. Stacie Lifferth of Utah State (9:51.99) is her closest challenger. Sande has a time of 10:03.04 and could factor into the race as well. Besides Lifferth, Utah State will put Twitchell, with a top time of 10:10.08, Caroline Berry (10:10.34) and Amy Egan (10:12.94) into the final tonight. Other competitors are Hawai'i's Chantelle Laan (9:59.55), Julie Hancock from Northridge (10:11.86), Nevada freshman Natalia Jarawka (10:11.87) and Idaho's Rhea Richter (10:12.70).

Summers of Northridge is the favorite in the shot put with a season best of 52 feet, 5.5 inches achieved in the Washington Husky Classic earlier this year. Louisiana Tech's Nadia Alexander (52-3.75) and Shaterika Allen (50-5.5) are the closest challengers. Boise State's Amber Tavares (44-9.5) will try to give her team some needed points. Other participants include Idaho's Mykael Bothum (49-3.5), Bobbie Patton of Cal State-Northridge (48 feet even), Fresno State's Aspen Marshall (47-0.25), Hawai'i's Annett Wichmann (45-7.75) and Meghan Weaver (45-1.5) and Appanaitis of Nevada (45-3.75).

Boise State's title hopes received a blow when Aspen Clontz could not go this morning in the women's penthathlon. Clontz was the #5 seed in the event. Annett Wichmann of Hawai'i has the year's best score of 4,039 points, with Lashana Verdon of Northridge (3,828) her closest competitor. Hawaii'i's Mallory Gilbert is the third seed with 3,385 points, followed by Idaho freshman Darcy Collins, with a season best of 3,382 points, Utah State's Aimee Savageau (3,216), Kayli Sanders of Northridge (3,179) and Idaho's Amanda Robinson (3,137), Lindsay Goodman (3,099) and Molly Burt (3,054).

It will be a tight field in the 60-meter hurdles final. Utah State's Amber Peterson turned in the top time in qualifying last night with an 8.60. Heather Bergland of Idaho was 2nd in 8.63. Megan Olivetti qualified with an 8.86, tied with Krystina Jackson of Fresno State for sixth. Ashleigh McGrew of Cal State- Northridge is the third seed with an 8.70. Other finalists tonight are Analisa Serrano of Nevada (8.77), Idaho's Christie Gordon (8.82) and Julie Eze of Northridge (8.88).

The 4 x 400 relay should be dominated by Louisiana Tech with clean exchanges. The Tech women are solid in the 400 and field a team that has finished the Distance in 3:35.73. Northridge is seeded second with a time of 3:44.94. The Broncos (3:48.84) could capture second with a strong performance Tonight. Fresno State (3:51.74), Utah State (3:52.42), Nevada (3:52.42), Idaho (3:56.80), Hawai'i (4:03.72) and New Mexico State (4:09.51) will also battle for points in the final women's event of the night at Jackson's Track.

It promises to be a fun-filled day in Nampa!

2007 WAC Indoor Track & Field Championship Schedule—Day Two

11 a.m.—Heptathlon Event 5—60-Meter Hurdles

Noon—Heptathlon—Pole Vault

2:30—1,000-Meter Run to conclude the heptathlon competition

Women's Pentathlon

11:30 a.m.—60-Meter Hurdles

12:15 p.m.—High Jump

2:30—Shot Put

3:15—Long Jump

4—800-Meter Run

Field Event Finals:

4:30 p.m.—Women's Weight Throw

4:30—Women's Triple Jump

4:30—Men's Shot Put

4:45—Men's High Jump

4:45—Women's Pole Vault

6:30—Men's Triple Jump

Running Finals:

6:30 p.m.—Women's Mile Run

6:40—Men's Mile Run

6:50—Women's 800 Meters

6:55—Men's 800 Meters

7:00—Women's 400 Meters

7:10—Men's 400 Meters

7:20—Women's 60-Meter Hurdles

7:30—Men's 60-Meter Hurdles

7:40—Women's 60-Meter Dash

7:45—Men's 60-Meter Dash

7:50—Women's 3,000-Meter Run

8:05—Men's 3,000-Meter Run

8:15—Women's 4 x 400-Meter Relay

8:25—Men's 4 x 400-Meter Relay

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