Indoor track season now underway
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The track and field facility is usually one of the most tranquil places on campus; with a beautiful mountain backdrop and a immaculate infield, Westmont boasts one of the most beautiful facilities in the country. Come Saturdays during Spring semester, however, the typical quiet is broken by the sounds of a starting gun, cheering teammates, and roaring crowds. This Saturday was no exception, as the Warriors opened up the 2019 track and field season in stellar fashion.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off of high finishes at the National Level (9th out of 115 for the men, 19th out of 107 for the women), and the competitive fire that Westmont displayed in its home opener was indicative of another stellar season to come. Four Warriors punched their tickets for the Indoor National Championship, two locally and two in the prestigious University of Washington Dempsey Indoor Invitational. At home, junior Chena Underhill returned to fine form after studying abroad to post a qualifying height of 3.55 meters in the women’s pole vault. On the track, junior Emily Parks displayed early-season fitness with a 1:35.02 in the 600m, besting the qualifying standard by over a full second. In Washington, junior Pieter Top manhandled the heptathlon to break his own school record, scoring 5,165 points to set the best mark in the NAIA this season. Not to be outdone, junior Michael Oldach ran a blazingly fast 4:06.69 to run the second-fastest mile in Westmont history, posting the fastest time in the NAIA this season by an incredible ten seconds.
In addition to these qualifiers, Westmont dominated its home track in true Warrior fashion. Westmont swept all four relays (men’s and women’s 4x800m and 4x400m), the 600m (men’s and women’s), men’s long jump, men’s weight throw and shot put, women’s weight, and the men’s and women’s 1000m. These are just a few of the events hosted, but Westmont showed its depth by putting two sprinters in the 60m men’s final and taking second overall in the men’s 200m dash. Westmont was also well represented in both the men’s and women’s 60m hurdles.
As the indoor season gets rolling, Head Coach Russell Smelley commended the team after the meet, saying “Y’all are the reason I keep doing this. There is great enthusiasm, and excellent camaraderie. Keep moving forward, working through disappointments. Thank you all for a wonderful meet.”
Pedro Perez Espino summed the opening meet up well by saying, “The energy was great. This team has a ton of athletes and dedication. We left it all out there.”
Westmont does it all again next weekend, hosting the Sunshine Qualifier and Multi. Competition begins at 1:30 p.m. on Friday for the men’s heptathlon, and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday for the regularly scheduled meet.