It was a day of warmth, remembrance and of setting individual marks. The Steve Scott Invitational took place at Anteater Stadium on April 30.
The invite was not a team scored event, but rather an individual meet where intercollegiate athletes from several schools and from independent organizations or even retired athletes competed to break or better previous times and marks.
Three Anteaters qualified for the NCAA Regionals, making it a grand total of seven track and field athletes who are now eligible to compete in Regionals.
The first qualifying time went to junior distance runner Tom Whelan in the 1500-meter. Whelan had the lead going into the last lap but lost it as he got out-kicked in the last 200 meters by his teammate junior Ricky Barnes and Eastern Washington’s Branden Fuller. Barnes, who already qualified for the 1500 meter earlier this year came in second with a time of 3:47.49 followed by third-place Whelan, who clocked in a time of 3:47.55.
Later in the day, sophomore hurdler Dayne Comrie placed fourth in section one of the men’s 400-meter hurdles to finish with a time of 52.43 to qualify him for regionals as well. To round out the three qualifiers for the day was freshman jumper Julian Eison who place second in the high jump with a mark of 6-10.75.
Eison failed to clear the 7-0 mark, but it still was a phenomenal day for the Anteater who tied the sixth-best mark in UCI history in the men’s high jump.
Eison said of his performance, ‘It was good. That’s the best I’ve felt all year jumping.’
‘I changed my approach last week,’ Eison said, as he now speeds up and takes off for his jump with more accuracy.
Ben Cesar, associate head coach of the Track and Field team said of the three qualifiers, ‘I think its been a long time coming. Honestly, we’ve been waiting for them to ‘qualify and its good to see them do it today.’
With several section heats being run at the track, various UCI runners made strong showings in different heats. For the men’s side, senior sprinter Elias Moreno finished first in the section three heat of the men’s 100 meter with a time of 10:82 and then again placed third in the men’s 200 meters with a time of 21.95.
Before the men’s 400 meter took place, a moment of silence was held for UCI’s fallen sprinter, freshman James Walsh, who passed away last weekend.
The shotgun went off and 50 seconds of silence followed as UCI’s Track and Field team huddled at the starting line. Teammates, coaches and Walsh’s parents were there to remember the young athlete before the race Walsh competed in: the 400.
Sophomore sprinter Storm Huie clocked in a time of 49.33 in the 400 meter in the section one heat for a fifth-place finish.
Senior sprinter and hurdler Kenny Vinh placed second in the second section heat of the men’s 110-meter hurdles as he finished in 15.03 seconds.
UCI’s junior thrower Michael Beerer placed third in the men’s hammer throw with a mark of 198.03 while in the men’s 3000 Steeplechase, junior distance runner John Kluve placed second with a time of 9:11.26.
The men’s relay teams made awesome showings with the 4×100-meter relay team placing second with a time of 41.93 and the men’s 4×400-meter relay team clocked in at 3:15.34 for another second place finish.
In the women’s side, sophomore Ashlee Marshall finished second in the long jump to record a 18-1.75 mark. Fellow teammates sophomore Kat Dawkins and senior Kim Harper came in fourth and fifth place with marks of 18-0.50 and 18-0.25.
Sophomore jumper Orlisha Henlon placed fourth in the Women’s High Jump with a mark of 5-05.00. Henlon felt that her ‘performance on the high jump was not the best.’
Henlon’s teammate, freshman jumper Danielle St. John, finished fifth in a five-way tie with a mark of 5-03.00.
In the women’s 1500 meter, freshman distance runner Elaine Gillespie clocked in a fourth-place time of 4:39.87 in the first section heat of the race.
Fellow UCI freshman Candace Proctor finished in sixth place with a time of 4:41.79 in the same section heat. In the women’s 100-meter hurdles, sophomore hurdler Kristen Silverman placed fourth in the second section heat with a time of 15.18. Finally, in the women’s 200-meter race, junior sprinter Lauren Willis finished third in the fourth section heat with a time of 26.00.
As freshman distance runner Sky Johnston said, ‘This was not a scoring meet. People are trying to hit good marks and hopefully qualify for regionals.’