Vandals Send 14 To NCAA West Regional Track & Field Meet - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Vandals Send 14 To NCAA West Regional Track & Field Meet

Courtesy Idaho athletics

There won't be any winners this weekend at the NCAA West Regional Track and Field Meet at the University of Texas. No trophies; no medals. But that doesn't mean this isn't the most important meet of the season for the 14 University of Idaho Vandals traveling to the prestigious three-day event.

"There are no winners," Vandal Director of Track and Field Wayne Phipps said as his team went through final prep. "You just advance to the next round."

The next round being the NCAA Championship Meet at the University of Oregon.

Phipps and Julie Taylor, the Vandals' head track and field coach, are guiding six runners, six throwers and two pole vaulters to the regional competition, which begins Thursday and concludes Saturday. The top 12 in each event join the top 12 from the East Regional at the June 5-8 NCAA Championships.

Two Vandals – distance runner Hannah Kiser and javelin thrower Ugis Svazs, are ranked fourth in the region. Their strategies, Phipps and Taylor said, are vastly different as they head into the regional meet.

"They're going to have to be very tactical," said Phipps of the distance runners. "There is a lot of strategy involved. You have to be very aware of what's going on during the race."

For the 5,000 meters – Kiser's event, there are two heats with the top four runners in each heat and the next four fastest times advancing to the national meet.

"We stumbled upon my talent in the 5K," said Kiser, who has had national-level success in her fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter indoor race last winter. "It incorporates speed and endurance.

"All you have to do is do what you've done the whole season. That's kind of calming."

Kiser's 15:44.06 time is fourth-fastest in the West region and is second fastest in the second heat of the event. Phipps said seeding in the second heat can be beneficial in that the runners in the second heat know the times for the first-heat competitors and can adjust their efforts accordingly.

For Svazs, Taylor said he just needs a strong, competitive throw to go to the next level.

"He can throw well and not have the huge pressure," Taylor said. "A good throw, which he's done all year, is probably going to get him there."

Svazs, who qualified with a javelin throw of 240.7 feet (73.34 meters), said his improvement this season is the result of careful analysis of his technique.

"It has been teamwork with the coach," he said. "We did a pretty good job analyzing what we needed to improve."

Here is a list of Idaho's qualifiers and their event date and time (all times Pacific).


800 meters – Lauren Schaffer, 18th, 2:06.99; first round, Thursday, 6:10 p.m.; second round, Friday, 5 p.m.

5000 meters – Hannah Kiser, 4th, 15:44.06; Saturday, 6:05 p.m.

400 hurdles – Liga Velvere, 13th, 58.54; first round, Thursday, 2:30 p.m.; second round, Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Hammer – Sarah Nutsch, 40th, 57.23 meters; Thursday, noon

Javelin – Ellen Rouse, 25th, 46.69 meters, and Tayler Feinauer, 40th, 44.95 meters; Saturday, 3 p.m.


400 meters – Ben Ayesu-Attah, 26th, 46.69; first round, Thursday, 5:45 p.m.; second round, Friday, 4:15 p.m.

5000 meters – Barry  Britt, 37th, 14:03.48; Saturday, 6:45 p.m.

400 hurdles – Jesse Villines, 46th, 52.63; first round, Thursday, 3 p.m.; second round, Friday, 5:45 p.m.

Pole vault – Jeremy Klas, 18th, 5.36 meters, and Matt Sullivan, 22nd, 5.31 meters; Saturday, 11 a.m.

Hammer – Kyle Rothwell, 20th, 62.43 meters; Friday, noon

Javelin – Ugis Svazs, 4th, 73.34 meters, and Mike Marshall, 16th, 68.91 meters; Saturday, 10 a.m.