Winger No.1 in the NATION!

His photo hasn't left the front page of this site in at least three weeks. And it will stay here this week as University of Idaho junior RUSS WINGER now leads the nation in the shot put with a personal best throw of 65'-5" in last weekend's Husky Last Chance meet in Seattle. He took gold at the WAC Indoor Championships two weekends ago and will set his mark on an NCAA Championship in Arkansas.

THE FOLLOWING STORIES WERE PUBLISHED EARLIER THIS WEEK ON THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO WEBSITE. BELOW IS A LINK TO THE OFFICIAL TRACK SITE.

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Men's track climbs to 14th in Trackwire rankings

2/27/2007 - The Idaho men's track and field team jumped one spot to 14th in the latest Trackwire.com Top 25 poll.

The Trackwire.com poll, based on projections for the NCAA Indoor Championship meet, ranked the Vandals alongside UCLA at the #14 spot with 14 projected points.

Vandal throwers Russ Winger and Matt Wauters are the reasons for the ranking, as Winger is the top-ranked athlete in the shot put in Trackwire's Dandy Dozen ranking and Wauters is the fifth-ranked athlete in the weight throw.

Women's pole vaulter Melinda Owen slid two places to 11th in the latest women's Dandy Dozen rankings.

Idaho's next action will be at the Husky Last Chance Meet in Seattle, Wash., on March 3, then at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 9-10.



Winger hits nation's top shot put mark

MOSCOW – Only a handful of Vandals competed at the Husky Last Chance Meet in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, but they made a big splash at the final regular-season meet before the NCAA Championship.

Junior thrower Russ Winger showed that he's ready for nationals, throwing the nation's top shot put mark, hurling the shot a personal-best 65-5 on his final throw of the day, just two inches off the facility record. He also finished fifth in the weight throw with a provisional toss of 65-1½.

"I think at one point during the week, we weren't sure if we were going to send him," co-head coach Wayne Phipps said. "Russ really wanted to go and try to beat the facility record, so he went and ended up having a great series of throws. It ended up being a great decision to send him because he left the meet with a ton of confidence."

The ink had barely dried from pole vaulter Melinda Owen's last school record, but the books have to be rewritten, because the junior did it again. Owen's first-place vault of 13-8¼ is a new indoor school record, breaking her previous record of 13-5¾, which she set in the very same building on Feb. 10, at the Husky Classic.

It's the third time in the past month that Owen has broken her own school record and the mark bumps her up to a tie for seventh nationally and ensures her a spot at the NCAA Championship. She had previously been 10th.

"I think having her come here and compete will be great for nationals. Melinda got a great chance to get some good attempts at the heights she's going to need at nationals," Phipps said.

Kevin Friesen and Diego Moreno lead a strong effort by the distance crew, which came up with five personal bests on the day. Friesen was the top collegiate finisher in the men's 3k run with a personal-best time of 8:17.27, while Moreno finished right behind him in a personal-best 8:18.12. Senior Mike Thompson finished 11th in the men's mile in a personal-best 4:14.39, while sophomore Matt Racine finished 19th in the 5k run with a personal-best time of 15:00.98. Junior Bastien Tardy turned in a personal-best time of 1:50.99 in the men's 800m, finishing fourth.

Sophomore Heather Bergland finished fourth in the 60m hurdles with an impressive time of 8.68, despite battling illness for most of the week. Freshman Mike Carpenter had his second-best effort of the year in the pole vault, clearing 15-10 in the event.

The Vandals will head to the NCAA Indoor Championship next Saturday at Fayetteville, Ark., where the men will try for their first top 25 finish since 2002.




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