Payton Lewis shatters pole vault record; Gordon wins mile at season opener

NAMPA, Idaho – Payton Lewis set the bar amazingly high on what should be an amazing season for the Crusader track & field teams.

The freshman from Nampa Christian High School shattered the Northwest Nazarene school record in the pole vault in his debut collegiate meet, and met an automatic NCAA National Championship qualifying standard, at the season-opening Jackson’s Open at the Ford Idaho Center.

His performance was one of several stellar first-day efforts as fellow NNU freshman Chelsey Knott took second in the women’s 60-meter hurdles in a near-school record, and Hailey Gordon ran away with a victory in the women’s mile.

“It was a nice start to the season overall,” NNU head track and field coach John Spatz. “Payton and Chelsey were awesome for the first college meet.

“A good number of personal bests from the different event groups,” Spatz added. “And Hailey’s win in the mile in a very solid time was good.”

Lewis shattered the school record, set by his cousin Preston in 2005, by just more than a foot, clearing 16 feet, 9 ¼ inches to win the event.

The height was an automatic NCAA indoor championship meet qualifying mark, and bested the previous NNU record held by Preston of 15-9.

Meanwhile, Knott clocked a time of 8.98, winning her preliminary heat, then she took second overall in the 60-meter hurdle finals in 8.93 seconds, just .09 seconds off the school record set by Marie Smith last winter.

As for Gordon, she blazed to the lead in the mile with two laps left and won by five seconds in a time of 5 minutes, 35.54 seconds.

Other top finishes for the Crusaders included on the men’s side: Kyle McLaughlin fourth in the 60 hurdles in 8.50; Cole Hoberg tied for fourth in the high jump clearing 1.96 meters; the Crusader 4×400 relay took fourth in 3:30.15; Brandon Schafer was sixth in the 500 meters in 1:13.36; Kirk Gartrell was sixth in the long jump with a leap of 6.39 meters; John VanBeuren was sixth in the shot put with a throw of 14.10 meters; Jacob Oswalt was eighth in the 200 meters in 22.97; and Matt Silva was eighth in the weight throw with a mark of 14.04 meters.

On the women’s side, other top finishers included: Courtney Brewer was second in the high jump clearing 1.57 meters; the NNU 4×400 relay was second in 4:08.93; Knott added a fifth-place finish in the 200 meters in 26.41; Taylor Deskins was eighth in the 60-meter dash in 8.10; Laura Seymour was eighth in the long jump with a leap of 4.81 meters; Taylor VanValey was ninth in the shot put with a throw of 12.23 meters; and Caitlin Curtis was ninth in the weight throw with a mark of 14.89 meters.

“Very satisfied with how we competed as a team,” Spatz said of the first meet. “I’m looking forward to January and February and the heart of the season.”

January will be the next time NNU hits the track, competing in the Ed Jacoby Invite and Combined, Jan. 16-17.




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