Vandals Lead WAC Indoor Championships

MATTHEW WAUTERS took the title today in the weight throw at the WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, as Idaho finished the day in first place overall. Sophomore Kevin Pabst took second in the long jump, as a total of six Vandals earned First Team All-WAC honors. Off to an excellent start, competition continues Saturday as Idaho battles for its first WAC Men's Indoor Track Championship.



NAMPA, Idaho – Riding a handful of strong individual performances, the Idaho men's track and field team leads the WAC Indoor Championship after the first day of competition at the Idaho Center at Nampa, Idaho.

Despite going into Saturday leading second-place Utah State by a 59-44 margin, co-head coach Wayne Phipps still isn't quite comfortable going into the final day of competition.

"I think that 15-point lead is somewhat deceiving. We're not as far out in front as I would have liked to have been. I really think it's just going to be a battle tomorrow," Phipps said.

Sophomore Matt Wauters led the way for the Vandals, taking home the weight throw title with a NCAA provisional toss of 68-1½. Junior Russ Winger took third in the event with a personal-best, provisional-qualifying toss of 66-4¼.

"Matt Wauters had that under control. He had three or four throws that would have won the competition," Phipps said. "That is probably going to end up being the best weight throw competition in the nation. The second-place competition literally came down to the last throw."

Sophomore Kevin Pabst hit a huge personal best in the long jump, taking second place with a leap of 24-5½. He also ran the 400m leg of the second-place distance medley relay.

Freshman Mike Carpenter had a great day for the Vandals, finishing third in the pole vault and fourth in the 200m, and also qualifying for the finals in the men's 60m.

"If you look at one individual event, nothing was super-spectacular, but if you look at the whole picture, it was just four hours of non-stop for him," Phipps said. "Mike was just amazing today."

Senior Benjamin Mimoun took third in the 200m with a time of 21.77 to earn first-team All-WAC honors.

"I didn't think it was going to take 21.30 to win, so it was kind of surprising that he was third," Phipps said. "He actually had a hamstring cramp after the prelim, but he came back and ran a great final. He wanted to win, but I thought he really battled back well."

The men's distance crew came out strong, with three athletes scoring in the 5k and two more qualifying for Saturday's 800m final. Sophomore Kevin Friesen took third, junior Diego Moreno took fourth and sophomore Matt Racine took sixth in the 5k run, earning the team a total of 11 points. Junior Bastien Tardy ran the fastest qualifying time in the 800m, while senior Kevin Potter qualified with the fourth-best time.

"I think Kevin is going to be disappointed a bit because he wanted to win that. I'm still really pleased with the way he ran," Phipps said. "It was Diego's first collegiate race ever and he got fourth, which is great. Matt Racine also ran a great race to finish sixth."

The distance medley relay was unable to defend its 2006 title, finishing just behind Utah State to take second in the event.

"Our goal all along was to win the DMR. We felt like there was no one who should be able to run with us," Phipps said. "Utah State had just an incredible anchor leg. The guy ran a 4:11 mile out of nowhere."

Six Vandal men earned first-team All-WAC honors on day one, including Mimoun in the 200m, Friesen in the 5k, Pabst in the long jump, Carpenter in the pole vault and Winger and Wauters in the weight throw.

Earning second-team honors for the Vandals were Carpenter in the 200m, Moreno and Racine in the 5k and the distance medley relay team.

The WAC awards first-team honors to athletes who finish first through third and awards second-team honors to athletes who finish fourth through sixth in their respective events. The first- and second-place relay teams earn first- and second-team honors, respectively.

The final day of competition at the WAC Indoor Championship begins at 10 a.m. Pacific time with the men's heptathlon. Field events start at 4:30 p.m., while running events start at 6:30 p.m.

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