Beaver Track & Field Shines In High Jump And 3K At UW Invite
Jan. 26, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. - Freshman Sara Almen finished tied for third in the high jump and Kinsey Gomez and Kira Kelly ran all-time top-10 times in the 3K, as the Oregon State track and field team opened up its 2013 indoor season in fine fashion at the UW Invitational in Seattle on Saturday.
"I think it was a really positive meet for us," Oregon State assistant coach Travis Floeck said. "We wanted to go out in the first event of the season and calculate where we're at and we can't be anything but thrilled with the results."
In a new development for the program, the Beavers brought seven jumpers to Dempsey Indoor, including four freshmen and a transfer who had all yet to compete in the Orange & Black. In the high jump, Almen cleared 5' 3¾", 5' 5¾" and 5' 7¾" all on her first attempt and narrowly missed clearing the bar at 5' 9¾". Almen's mark of 5' 7¾" (1.72m) tied her with three other jumpers for third place and came just short of a pair of competitors from Oregon and Trinity Western who jumped 5' 10½".
"Sara Almen is a pretty special talent," Floeck said. "That much is evident after seeing her compete for the first time in an OSU uniform. She is going to do some special things at Oregon State. She jumped really well today and barely missed 5' 9¾". This spring is looking very promising. She can do some amazing things even this year."
In addition to Almen's sterling debut, the trio of Beaver entries in the 3K had performances that were just as impressive. Kinsey Gomez came in third with a time of 9:50.63, Kira Kelly fourth in 9:56.81 and Kelsi Schaer in 18th after crossing after a time of 10:31.47. Each of those marks were personal records and the freshman Kelly even bested her previous PR from high school by 39 seconds.
Gomez's time is the second-fastest in the indoor 3,000m in school history, trailing only Laura Carlyle's 9:35.99 from 2011. Kelly's phenomenal effort now places her fifth all-time at Oregon State. In addition to Carlyle, Gomez and Kelly, Kathy Knowlton (1985) and Jennifer Macias (2011) are the only other Beavers to run a faster indoor 3K.
"Kinsey and Kira went in really confident and raced that way," Floeck added. "When you do that, some great things can happen. They did a great job over the break keeping up their fitness and the fast times today were a product of that."
In addition to the aforementioned student-athletes, Kristin Oenning came in 15th in the high jump (5' 1¾") and Jessica Lautenbach and Justine Bird tied for 19th (4' 11¾"). Kaitlyn Mason led the way for the Beavers in the long jump, finishing 18th (16' 5"), and was followed by Michele Turney (31st; 16' 2¼"), Lautenbach (32nd; 16' 0¼") and Rylee Marshall (14' 10")
After week one, the future looks bright for an Oregon State program which had previously featured primarily distance and middle distance runners since the program was reinstated. Almen, Bird, Lautenbach and Turney are all freshmen and Mason transferred from George Fox. Of the jumpers that competed Saturday, Marshall and Oenning were the only ones who had previously done so for Oregon State.
"The sky is the limit," Floeck said of the program. "The great thing is that when you're starting something, you get to do it do it the way you want and [Head Coach] Kelly [Sullivan] has done that. He has the vision on where program is going to go and it's going to be a great journey, a great ride, to see us continue to develop. It's really exciting that we took seven jumpers, something that hasn't happened in the past. All of them did a great job in preparation for the meet and I think the marks will continue to follow when we do more technical work."
The Beavers will have a week off before they're back in action at Dempsey Indoor on Feb. 8 and 9 for the Husky Classic.
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