Another school record broken as women’s sprinters excel
The track and field women did not want their fellow Lumberjack men to be the only ones with a school record under their name. The women’s 4×100–meter relay team broke an 18–year old school record April 28 at Drachman Stadium in Tucson during a double-dual meet against UA and ASU.
As a squad, redshirt senior Simone Holder, senior Jenne Childs and freshmen Darriel Banks and Shamelle Pless ran the event for an impressive time of 45.99, while all individually gained personal best marks in their respective events as well.
“For the 4X1, I felt way more confident because me and [Childs] were having issues with the handoffs the past few weeks,” Pless said.
Childs also felt good before the handoff, as the result of the race.
“I had seen [UA] mess up, so that pushed me to run faster,” Childs said. “I was like, ‘We can beat these guys.’”
In the women’s 200–meter dash, Banks finished second with a time of 24.05, while Holder (24.77) and Pless (25.08) placed eighth and ninth, respectively. In the 100–meter race, Banks finished fifth (11.84) and was followed by Pless (12.33) in sixth.
“For my 200, I was so excited for my time. I was trying to get down to low 24s forever, so, hopefully I can hit high 23 for conference,” Banks said. “My 100, actually, I was surprised because the past couple meets have been bad, but I got my time down also.”
Holder, Childs and Pless would compete together again in the women’s 4×400–meter race, with senior Rashida McKinnon running as anchor.
“Honestly, before the 4×4, I was completely nervous. We were standing ninth in conference, which made me feel horrible because I wasn’t sure if we’re even going to make it to conference, [because] they only take [the] top eight,” McKinnon said. “I ran my heart out because my team ran their [hearts] out, so I owed it to them and myself. I was happy and very surprised that we moved up to third, but [I’m] grateful because now I’m on fire to run in conference. After this weekend, there’s no telling what this team is capable of.”
The Lumberjacks closed off the night with a time of 3:47.38, a season best by four seconds.
“That is what I’m talking about: when we’ve got some people here that can go to the national meet, that have a chance to score at the national meet,” said director of cross country and track and field Eric Heins. “We don’t have thirty of them, so we don’t have to be who we’re not. But that team in the 4X4 really epitomized this weekend [and] this meet. You can’t be intimidated by those teams [and] by those schools; you got to go and be who you are.”
Intimidation is not a word in freshman high jumper Deante Kemper’s vocabulary. For his third consecutive meet, Kemper cleared seven feet. This past weekend he leaped 7 feet, 0.5 inches.
“We’ve got two of the best high jumpers in the country at Arizona and Arizona State, and we’ve got the best freshman right now. [Kemper’s] always battling with the high jumpers,” Heins said.
Redshirt senior Karl Gehrke placed second in the discus with a throw of 165 feet, 8 inches. Placing second was lone javelin representative, freshman Brittany Price, with a throw of 137 feet, 4.75 inches.
On the track, sophomore Bahlbi Gebreyohanns (8:31.72) and freshman Alejandro Montano (8:32.81) finished second and third, respectively, in the men’s 3,000–meter run.
“You know, obviously we’re not going to beat the second-place guy in the country,” Heins said. “But [Gebreyohanns and Montano] competed against ASU and UA, taking second and third, a great bounce back from their 10K a couple weeks ago.”
For the women runners, freshman Kerri Lenihan placed fourth and set a new personal record in her second 3,000–meter steeplechase appearance at 11:34.92. Senior Kortnee Burton finished sixth in the 3,000–meter run with a time of 9:57.14.
“This was a pretty solid meet for us. Realistically, we’re not going to come down here and beat either one of these teams,” Heins said. “I mean, you look at the group we’ve got here and you look over there, [UA and ASU are] twice the size of us for one part, so they put in three or four people in each event to our one. But again, it’s about coming out down here and competing.”
The Lumberjacks are off this upcoming weekend and will appear again for the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships at Montana State Track and Field Complex, Bozeman, Mont. on May 9–12.