Zag Tracksters Assault Record Book With Five School Marks
SALEM, Ore. - Five school records were set Saturday night at the West Coast Invitational as Gonzaga University had perhaps its finest hour on the track.
Four of the school records came in back-to-back-to-back-to-back races, with Tate Kelly putting the capper on the evening with the fifth school record in the men's 10,000 meters in the final event of the night.
"It was a good day, especially after coming off of finals," Gonzaga head coach Pat Tyson said. "They were tired so it was pretty amazing to see what they did today."
Tyson said it was also an "exiciting day to see some WCC jerseys," referring to the fact five West Coast Conference teams participated in the meet. The WCC does not sponsor track and field or a track and field championship.
Lauren Bergam began the record assault in the meet co-hosted by Willamette University and the University of Portland by finishing sixth in the 3000 meter steeplechase in 10:59.17, the second time this season she's broken the mark of 11:31.64 she established March 24.
Nick Roche, not to be outdone, broke the men's 3000 meter steeplechase mark with a 9:20.64 to finish eighth. His record-breaking time was 15 seconds better than his previous personal best and broke the mark of 9:26.41 set by Dan Ourada in 1996.
But the Zags weren't done. Catherine Theobald joined in with a 4:31.08 in the women's 1500 meters, breaking her mark for the second time this year. Her 4:38.02 earlier this year broke the 27-year old record of Lori Pasco. Theobald finished fourth Saturday night.
Brent Felnagle continued the onslaught with a fourth straight school record of 3:52.27 in the men's 1500 meters, breaking the record of 3:53.0 set by Jon Neill in 1996. Felnagle finished 12th overall. Neill might best be known today as the Race Director for Bloomsday, one of the largest timed road races in the country which last weekend saw 47,000-plus runners finish the race through the streets of Spokane.
Kelly, who narrowly missed the 10,000 meter record earlier this season when he ran a 30:48.22, made no mistake this time with a 30:23.77 to break the mark of 30:45.22 set by Joe Miller in 2005. Kelly finished third Saturday.
While the school records stole the attention, there were some other solid marks by the Zags.
Freshman Kelsey Tracy was 10th in the women's 800 meters in 2:17.36, not far off Theobald's school record of 2:14.84 set earlier this season. Matt Gosselin finished seventh in the men's 800 meters in 1:54.83, just a couple of seconds off Neill's school mark of 1:52.31.
Sophomore Emily Thomas, who is in a solid position in the 10,000 meters to become the first Bulldog to qualify for the NCAA Western Regionals, finished fourth in a tune-up 5,000 meters in 16:59.81 Saturday, just a couple of seconds off her school mark of 16:57.80 set this season.
Tyson said final results from all teams must be posted by 8 p.m. Sunday with schools needing to declare their NCAA Regional entrants by Wednesday. Thomas was 38th in the 10,000 meters entering the weekend and Tyson is confidant her time will hold as one of the top 48 qualifiers for the NCAA Western Regionals in two weeks in Austin, Texas.
Tyson thought the Bulldogs put on a good show Saturday.
"I think if you were an observer Saturday you would say Gonzaga has come a long way from where they were four years ago, and I think the other WCC teams will know they'll have to work a little bit harder. We competed well today," Tyson said.