Vandal Men Take Third at WAC Indoor

Junior RUSS WINGER was named the WAC's co-Outstanding Performer of the Year, and Idaho jumped out to the overall lead after the first day of competition at the WAC Indoor Championships. But the Vandals could not hold on, settling for a third place finish. Idaho, ranked 15th in the nation, took gold in the shot, weight throw, and 800m run, with nine Vandals earning First Team All-WAC honors.

It wasn't the outcome anyone on the Vandal men's indoor track team was aiming for this weekend, but the Vandals finished higher than any Vandal team before it in WAC competition, scoring the most points by a Vandal indoor track team (112) during WAC Championship competition since joining the Conference in 2004. In 2005 they finished 8th with 43 points, and in 2006 they finished 5th with 75 points.

The strength of this relatively young Vandal team is in the field events, and those events came up huge for Idaho pulling in 28 points (16 for the weight throw and 12 for the shot put).

Junior Russ Winger, ranked among the Top 2 in the nation in the shot put, was phenominal for Idaho this weekend and this year, taking home gold in the shot and bronze in the weight throw. The effort this season earned him co-Peformer of the Year honors for the WAC.

Sophomore Matt Wautters was equally clutch as he won gold in the weight throw and took home fifth in the shot. Wauters has been ranked among the Top 5 in the nation in the weight throw for much of this year, and last week was named WAC Track Athlete of the Week.

On the track, junior Bastien Tardy won the men's 800m with a time of 1:52:18 (almost .4 of a second ahead of the second place finisher). Idaho took home 14 points in the event, with senior Kevin Potter nabbing 4th place in the finals.

Freshman Mike Carpenter out of Canby, Ore was phenominal and First Team All-WAC honors for his performance. In his first WAC Championship competition he claimed third in the pole vault, fourth in the 200m and eighth in the 60m dash.

Sophomore Kevin Pabst out of Boise did a remarkable job taking second in the long jump with a jump of 24-5.5 (7.45m), earning First Team All-WAC honors.

Senior Benjamin Mimoun gave Idaho two top-four finishers in the 200m as he finished third (Carpenter took fourth) with a time of 2.77s.

Idaho placed a total of three runners among the top six in the 3000m run. This is actually a very important point. Placing more athletes among the top six scores more points, and is a sign of a team's overall depth. It's important obviously to have top finishers, but in this type of competition it is equally crucial to have a team loaded with athletes that can finish with points. In the 3000 senior Diego Moreno led the charge with a second place finish (8:29:72), followed by sophomore Kevin Pabst in fourth and sophomore Matt Racine of Boise in sixth.

Idaho was equally strong in the 5000m run, with points winners in Kevin Friezen (third), Diego Moreno (fourth) and Matt Racine (sixth).

In all Idaho claimed nine First Team All-WAC honors (competitors finishing among the top three in an event) and 13 Second Team All-WAC honors (finishing fourth through sixth).

Idaho finished third overall behind Boise State (128, winners of their third WAC Indoor title), Utah State (126, last year's champ), and ahead of Cal State Northridge (84) and Louisiana Tech (65).

Next up for Idaho is Nationals and then the outdoor track season.

Congratulations to all of Idaho's competitors this indoor season on a fantastic season, and best of luck at Nationals.

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