After a strong regular season indoor campaign, the Grand Canyon University men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to open competition at the 2015 WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Antelope women are the defending Indoor Champions, while the GCU men fell by a single point at the championships a season ago.
The three-day competition will be held at the United States Air Force Academy. Fans can click hereto see how they can follow this week’s competition.
“Again, I am very excited and confident in both our team’s ability to have very successful WAC Indoor Championship meets,” said head coach Tom Flood. “Our women’s team has a wonderful opportunity to defend their indoor title and our men will be right in the hunt for a team title again this year.”
“We will rely on leadership and outstanding performances from our seasoned veterans and also fully expect our newcomers to compete at a very high level and to make a lot of noise with their performances,” said Flood. “We know we won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year and will have to battle in every event. Both teams know that no one is going to just hand them anything and that they are going to have to earn every point they get.”
Defending 400-meter champion Moya McKenzie posted conference-fastest times in both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash and will look to defend her title in the quarter mile in Colorado Springs. Freshman Tope Williams , a two-time WAC Track Athlete of the Week honoree, has been impressive in her first indoor campaign, as the Chandler native ran to a WAC-best time of 7.51 seconds at the Air Force Team Challenge. Briana Myers collected the top time in the conference in the 60-meter hurdles (8.66 seconds).
Aaliyah Cook and Shonda Jones enter the high jump competition with the top height in the WAC after both clearing the bar at 1.65 meters during the season.Jennifer Rolph (3.87 meters) ranks first in the pole vault, while Lindsey Wright and Athena Masolini are tied in second with a height of 3.50 meters and Rachelle Green follows in fourth with her mark of 3.35 meters.
Kevina Godfrey jumped to a conference-best distance of 5.84 meters in the long jump, while Cook comes in third (5.64 meters). Andrea Olstead (11.75 meters) and Cook (11.24 meters) are third and fourth, respectively, in the triple jump. Vanessa Levy is second in both the shot put and weight throw heading into the weekend.
On the men’s side, the Lopes have been dominant in the sprints this season, as Aaron Thurber (60-meter), Lance Parker (200-meter) and Josh Ralston (400-meter) all hold WAC-best times heading into this week’s championships. Jahliell Wiltshire raced to the fastest time in the conference in the 60-meter hurdles after clocking a time of 8.17 seconds at the Air Force Team Challenge earlier in February. Tyler Vandyke‘s 4:13.16 mile time was the third-fastest this season.
Canyon holds down the top two spots in the pole vault, as freshmen Austin Tilley and Timothy Ryan are 1-2, respectively. Jude Olear (second in WAC), Robert Matthew (third in WAC) and Akintunde Adeyemi (fourth in WAC) have all turned in strong performances in the triple jump. Marcus Flannigan leaped to a distance of 7.03 meters in the long jump at the Air Force Team Challenge, which ranks third after the indoor season.
The GCU men have collected the top time in the 4×400-meter relay, while the Canyon women have the second-fastest conference time in the mile relay.
“The focus of all our athletes is to take care of business in their own events, that every 1/100th second or centimeter counts,” added Flood. “All I ever ask of them is to leave it all on the track and give 100%; nothing more, nothing less,” added Flood. “Both team titles could come down to a photo finish and the last event (4×4 relay).”
“It is a special bunch of student-athletes and we wouldn’t want to go into this battle with any other group,” concluded Flood.