Theobald, Thomas Continue Assault On Track Record Book
EUGENE, Ore. - Sophomores Emily Thomas and Catherine Theobald continued their assault on Gonzaga University's track records Friday at the Oregon Relays.
Thomas, who set both the 5000 and 10,000 meter school records last season as a freshman, broke her 5000 meter mark for the second time this season when she placed fourth in 16:56.17 Friday night at Hayward Field. That broke the mark of 16:57.80 set in March at the Buc Scoring Invite hosted by Spokane's Whitworth University. Annie Bersagel of NB Silicon Valley won the event in 16:19.98.
"Emily ran a gutty race. She went out hard and went through the first 1600 in 5:09," Gonzaga head coach Pat Tyson said. "She went out with the lead pack, faded back a little and wasn't that far behind the lead pack. She held together pretty well and she went for it."
Theobald, who set the indoor and outdoor 800 meter records already this season, added to 1500 meters to her list with a 4:38.020 to place seventh in Section 1 and 17th overall. She broke the 27-year-old record of 4:42.20 set by Lori Pasco in 1985. Sally Kipyego of OTC won the event Friday in 4:08.59.
"Catherine went through at 2:23 at 800 and I don't think she broke 2:20 for 800 last year (she ran 2:20.77 for a season best). She was leading the heat and ran an 80-second 400 meter which took her from the lead to looking in dire shape," Tyson explained. "When she finished it didn't look so good, but when we got her time it was real exciting. When she puts it all together we think she can do 4:31 or 4:32. It was a nice effort. She went for it on that one lap, faded but held together enough to post a great time."
Thomas and Theobald each set school records in back-to-back outings. Thomas broke her year-old 10,000 meter record in her last competition at the SF State Distance Carnival April 6 with a 35:01.36, and Theobald posted her 800 meter record of 2:14.84 at the Whitworth Twilight April 12.
The efforts of Thomas and Theobald overshadowed some other outstanding efforts by the Bulldogs.
Tate Kelly and Nate Gesell posted a 1-1 finish in the 5000 meters, Kelly winning with a season best of 14:50.68. Gesell was second in 14:53.31. Andrew Walker took fifth in 15:09.40 and Kyle Branch was seventh in 15:13.45 to give the Bulldogs four of the top 10 finishers.
"Tate's race had a lot of guys in it and it was hot. But Tate and Nate, and Walker early on, ran 1-2-3 and were helping each other out. Gonzaga lad all the way," Tyson said, saying it was nice to hear Gonzaga's name from the public address announcer throughout the day as the Bulldogs turned in strong marks and were factors in almost every race that had a Gonzaga jersey.
In the women's 10,000, Lauren Bergam (12th in 18:03.28) and Kristen Lightfoot (14th in 18:06.87) had season bests, while Lara Tuthill (19th in 18:23.88) turned in a career best.
Freshmen Magan Batty and Erin Bergman recorded career bests in their brief careers to date in the Section B of the women's 1500 meters. Batty was second in 4:42.52, led down the stretch and was nipped at the wire by Oregon State University's Erin Jones in 4:42.24. Bergmann finished sixth in 4:46.97.
Senior Matt Gosselin crossed the finish line in a career best 1:55.64 to finish third in Section B of the 800 meters. David Clark, running unattached, won in 1:54.95 as less than a second separated the top three finishers.
"Matt had a good race and it was one of our better 800 meter performances," Tyson noted.
In Section B of the women's 800 meters, Jordan McCann was second in a career best 2:18.74 and freshman Tracy Kelsey fourth in a career best 2:20.31.
"Jordan ran a real strong, heady race," Tyson said of his sophomore.
The Section B men's 1500 meters saw a host of Bulldogs with personal bests. Freshman Willie Milam was second in a career best 3:55.97 and junior Jared Christian was right behind Milan in a career best 3:56.65, his first sub-4 minute outing. Freshman Brent Felnagle was fifth in a career best 3:57.43 and sophomore Ben Lance was sixth in a career best 3:58.32. Andy Phillips, running unattached as he is redshirting this season, was fourth in 3:56.90.
"Brent led nearly the whole race. He's had a bad heel and hasn't trained much in a week," Tyson said. "Milam has had the stomach flu most of the week and he led down the homestretch. Jared is a hometown guy who has only run twice at Hayward Field since his high school championship and turned in a really nice effort. It was a great effort from second trough sixth."