After some fine racing, a battering of the 60 meter school record by a freshman, and PRs sprinkling across the team like a Seattle rain shower, the Nevada Wolf Pack flew home from the UW Invitational with smiles aplenty.
Two weeks ago, junior Angelica Earls (West Campus HS/Sacaremnto, CA) lowered the 60 meter record she had established last year from 7.63 to 7.59. Freshman Kashae Knox (Pleasant Grove HS/Sacramento, CA) took the veteran’s lead this weekend and decided to get in on the action, running 7.57 in prelims before wholloping the record in the finals for a second time in one day, running 7.52 to take third. Earls finished sixth in 7.63.
Sam Diaz’s (Ponderosa HS/Shingle Springs, CA) race savvy was on full display in the fastest section of the mile at the always talent rich Dempsey track. Diaz got her first taste of action against the nation’s elite as four of the 11 that lined up were professional post-collegians. Hanging at the back of the pack for the first 600, Diaz moved just as the pack began to separate, covering the split that was dividing the field into two races within the race. Hitting 71, 72.5, then 71.7, Diaz closed with her usual ferocity, covering the final quarter mile in 68.2 to take sixth. Her 4:43.43 improves her PR by 2.45 seconds and her seasonal best by 11 seconds.
One of the keys to Wolf Pack success at the looming conference championship, the jump squad had a stellar day. Seniors La Tijera Avery (Culver City HS/Culver City, CA) and Nicole Williams (Laguna Creek HS/Elk Grove, CA)finished one-two in the High Jump clearing 1.76/5’9.25”, 1.71/5’7.25” respectively. Avery took a couple of excellent attempts at 1.81/5’11.25” while Williams’ final attempt at 1.76 seemed to hover before dropping to the pit.
Over on the Long Jump pit, junior Deborah Amoah (Carter HS/Rialto, CA) took second hitting 5.73/18’ 9.75” on her fifth jump. The horizontal jump specialist took the weekend off from the Triple Jump.
Senior Jenifer McEntire (Clovis East HS/Clovis, CA) got things off to a rousing start Saturday morning in the 3000, lopping a full 35 seconds off her PR she had set only 2 weeks prior. Showing incredible composure after pulling away from the chase pack to find herself in no-man’s land between the lead pack and the chase pack, McEntire responded to the challenge by dropping her pace to negative split the race, moving into competitive territory she had previously only visualized. With four weeks to improve until the conference championships, her 10:15.50 now puts her into the mix for scoring in the WAC.
Behind McEntire, freshman Demerey Kirsch (Reno HS/Reno, NV) got her first collegiate experience on the track covering the 3000 only five seconds from her high school best, crossing the finish line in 10:28.26.
A bizarre mid-winter pacing virus appeared to infect the leaders in each section of the women’s 800 as the pace would go out respectably for the first 200 before those in front would slam on the brakes. In spite of the awkward flow, Mariah Gramolini (Silver Stage HS/Stagecoach/NV) and Anne Underwood (Valley HS/Las Vegas, NV) both made the most of the opportunity, racing well to finish first and second in their respective sections. Gramolini, a sophomore, showed her strength with an almost unheard of 6 second negative split. After opening in 32.9, Gramolini sat on the leaders through a ridiculously slow second 200 of 38.8, which put her at 71.1 for 400. She then broke the field going 32.7, 32.7 for her first collegiate win. The final 65.4 400 sealed her 2:17.16. Though almost 4 seconds shy of her indoor PR, the race displayed the racing chops she has been quietly acquiring over the last year. Faced with the same the strange pacing, Underwood, a freshman from Las Vegas Valley HS, also negative split the 800, dropping her indoor PR almost 3 seconds, running 2:18.96 while taking second in her heat.
In an exciting non-team finale to the weekend, volunteer coach Collier Lawrence, who, while a collegian had never qualified for a NCAA National Championship, qualified for the USA Track and Field Championships by dropping her 3000 PR from 9:44 to 9:25.60.
The jump trio of Amoah, Avery, and Williams will travel to New York next weekend for the New Balance Invitational. Most of the team will train for 2 weeks before competing at the Boise State Team Challenge. Sam Diaz will return to Seattle that weekend for the Husky Classic.