Track & Field Wins Six Of Nine Events At Willamette Opener
March 2, 2013
SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon State track & field team won six of the nine events in which it had women entered and the Beavers posted a number of PRs and made few mistakes in kicking off the outdoor season at the Willamette Opener in Salem on Saturday.
"That was exactly how we wanted to start 2013," Oregon State assistant coach Travis Floeck said. "It really couldn't have gone any better. People performed very well and hit personal bests and when you do that the first meet of the year you can't complain. At the end of the day, it's about competing and we had six event winners on the women's side. There was a lot of energy amongst the whole team. It was a great environment and we will walk away with a lot of positives from this day."
In the field events, Oregon State had winners in the high jump, long jump, shot put and discus. Beaver student-athletes finished second in the triple jump and sixth in the javelin. OSU did not have an entry in the pole vault.
Lucinda Howard claimed victory in the high jump with a leap of 5' 5¼" and Kristin Oenning tied for second after clearing 5' 1¾". Kaitlyn Mason and Michele Turney finished first and second in the long jump with marks of 17' 5¼" and 17' 3¼", both personal bests. Howard also rounded out Oregon State's performances in the jumps with a second-place finish in the triple jump (36' 6¼").
"When you come out in the jumps and get PRs in the first outdoor meet, that's a very good sign," Floeck said. "Usually you don't hit those until later in the season when the weather warms up."
Mary Claire Brenner and Kayla Fleskes were just as impressive for Oregon State in the throws. In atypical fashion, Brenner threw the shot 39' 4" on her sixth and final attempt, building confidence and distance with each successive toss and easily eclipsing her previous best of 37' 5¾".
The Jesuit HS product's mark easily earned her the title among a field of 14 and is 19th in OSU history, trailing Barbara Westcott's 39' 9¾" from the Beaver Invitational on April 23, 1977.
Fleskes crushed the competition in the discus with a throw of 132' ¼" to take home the crown. She finished sixth in the javelin with a mark of 115' 1". On Saturday, Fleskes and Brenner became the first Oregon State student-athletes to compete in the discus since 1988 and the same held true for Fleskes in the javelin.
"In the javelin there is more there and we know it. It didn't quite click today," Floeck said of Fleskes. "But in the discus Kayla was amazing and posted a giant PR. She had a goal of 115', which she blew out of the water and showed that she has a bright future."
Fleskes' discus mark is 12th in Oregon State history, behind Julia McInnis' 132' 1" from 1982.
The Beavers' throwers and jumpers had very few fouls all day, putting up a consistent series of marks, hitting the boards and competing with focus.
Oregon State had a just as impressive performance on the track, as Carly Januzzi won the 400-meters, Michele Turney the 100-meter hurdles, and Kelsi Schaer, Kira Kelly and Aly Nielson placed second, third and fifth in the 1,500.
Januzzi, who was primarily a 400-meter runner in high school, but has been focusing on the 800 and 1,500 at Oregon State, took her familiar place at the front of a group in the 400 with a time of 59.56.
"We've been training Carly with longer strength workouts, but gave her the choice today to run the 400," Floeck said. "To run a 59 is really encouraging and shows that even with strength work her speed hasn't gone away."
In a crowded 1,500 featuring 25 entries, Schaer ran 4:42.59, Kelly 4:43.53 and Nielson 4:46.02. The trio went out trying to stay with eventual winner Kimber Mattox, who ran for Oregon last season, but the post-collegian was able to cross first in 4:31.06.
"Everyone competed hard," Floeck added. "Kelsi really came on and ran a great last 300 meters, displaying a great kick. Kira just kept doing what she does and was just one second off her high school PR and it was a really strong race for Aly as well."
Oregon State's lone male competitor, freshman football player Ryan Cope, ran 16.18 in the 110-meter hurdles to finish sixth and 58.05 in the 400-meter hurdles, which was good for third.
"It's a different transition going from hurdles in high school to college," Floeck explained. "The hurdles get higher, which is a really big change and is very challenging. Ryan ran two strong races and hit his goals. He's a good technical hurdler and his conditioning will come as he races more."
Full results can be found here. The Beavers will have next weekend off before they're back on the track at the Oregon Preview on Saturday, March 16 in Eugene.
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