LOGAN, UTAH - The University of Nevada track & field team tied its program-best finish at the 2009 WAC Outdoor Championships hosted by Utah State at the Ralph Maughan Track Stadium in Logan, Utah Saturday.
Nevada picked up two WAC honors with head coach Shantel Twiggs named co-Head Coach of the Year along with Gary Stanely of LA Tech, while redshirt-sophomore Amanda Moreno (Stockton, Calif.) won the Outstanding Track Performer award.
It is the second time in her career that Moreno has won track performer of the meet awards at the WAC Championships, having won the honor at the indoor meet in 2008. Twiggs won her first-ever WAC Coach of the Year honors since coming to Nevada in 2004 and also becomes the first coach in Nevada’s history to win the award from the WAC in the outdoor season. It is the fourth time since joining the conference in 200 that the Wolf Pack has placed as high as second at the outdoor championships, previously having done so in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2009. Two of those finishes are under Twiggs’ tenure.
Louisiana Tech won its fifth-straight outdoor championship after it totaled 150 points. After leading for the majority of the championship, Nevada finished in second place with 129.5 points, ahead of Fresno State (119) and Utah State (112.50). Hawai`i (105.5), New Mexico State (88), Idaho (58)and Boise State (54.5) rounded out the women's field.
After winning the last event of the night in the 10,000-meters Friday, Moreno picked up her second gold medal of the meet in Saturday’s 5,000-meters with a time of 17:34.46. As the distance crew dominated competition Friday night, so it did again Saturday. Senior Christa Avena (Las Vegas, Nev.) also won her second gold medal of the meet a little earlier in the day. Avena upset the 2008 WAC champion, Fresno State's Roxanne Sellick, in the 1,500m run with a time of 4:30.63, a venue record. Sellick came in second place, crossing the line at 4:31.84. Freshman Christy Works (Carson City, Nev.) scored her first-ever career WAC outdoor points in the 800-meters, finishing sixth with a time of 2:19.26.
After using Friday’s prelims to qualify for Saturday’s finals, a number of the sprinters and hurdlers finally got to tip in some team points from the track for the Wolf Pack. Senior Analisa Serrano (Sparks, Nev.) won her first medal of 2009, taking home the silver in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.85. Serrano also grabbed a point in the 100-meters finishing eighth (12.40). Sophomore Gina Deckard (Culver City, Calif.) also scored in the 100-meter hurdles finishing seventh with a time of 14.19. In the 400-meter hurdles, senior Polly Smith (Reno, Nev.) placed fourth (1:00.18) just a couple spots ahead of freshman April Pate (Rialto, Calif.) in seventh (1:06.27).
In the field events, junior Constance McAlman (Carson City, Nev.) also medaled in two events. In the hammer throw, McAlman turned in a third-place mark after her throw of 58.41-meters was a season best and a regional qualifying mark. She also won a bronze medal in the discus throw with a mark of 46.6-meters.
In the high jump, sophomore Nicole Williams (Sacramento, Calif.) was the second two-sport athlete to place fourth in a field event for Nevada during the meet. Williams, a guard on the women’s basketball team, cleared 1.72-meters in the high jump. Friday it was a forward also from the women’s basketball team, RS-sophomore Marissa Hammond (Pendleton, Ore.) who also placed fourth in the javelin. Sophomore Aurelia Houston (Las Vegas, Nev.) also put up points in the triple jump with a sixth-place finish on her 11.65-meter jump.
A handful of Pack athletes who have qualified, will now prepare for the next step of the post-season with a trip to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA West Regional on May 29-30. The regional is the first step for athletes to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships hosted by Arkansas, June 10-13.