TRK: Warriors make final in men’s 4×800 relay

MARION, Ind. — The Westmont men’s 4 x 800-meter team of senior Isaac Thompkins, junior David Donner, junior Evan Bradford and freshman Nathan Evans placed second in the first heat of the trials to earn a spot in tomorrow’s finals. The team posted a time of 7:46.36

“The men did a nice job,” said head coach Russell Smelley about the relay team. “They competed in all four legs and did really well. Isaac’s 1:55.9 lead-off leg put us right in there. David responded to the competition by staying up and keeping moving. Evan came back from a bitter disappointment in the 1500 to redeem it with a solid 800. Nate Evans just loves to race and got the team into second.

“Matt Shiney, a senior who has run a 1:52 800 meters, has some health issues,” reported Smelley. “He wanted to be on the relay but made the decision that he knew he wasn’t okay today. He withdrew himself, which is noble. He gave the guys their opportunity and they took it.”

The greatest drama of the day came in the trials of the women’s 200 meters. Running in the first of three heats, senior Amanda Chevalier finished fourth with a time of 24.99, the eighth fastest time in Westmont history. However, only the top two finishers from each heat, plus the next three fastest times would advance to the finals.

In the second heat, Jewel Thomas of Indiana Tech also finished fourth with a time of 24.99. That meant Thomas and Chevalier were tied for the final spot in the finals. In the third heat, however, Joy Spear Chief-Morris of British Columbia finished third, also with a time of 24.99 making it a three-way time for the ninth spot in the finals.

Officials reviewed the times and awarded Thomas ninth place with a time of 24.9839 over Chevalier’s 24.9840. Smelley appealed to the games committee, urging that a run-off should be conducted since the three times were from different heats and the difference of one-ten thousandth of a second exceeds the tolerance of the timing system.

However, officials reviewed the images again and determined that Thomas’ time should have been scored as 24.982, Chevalier’s as 24.984 and Spear Chief-Morris’ as 24.988. The committee ruled against a run-off and awarded the right to compete in the finals to Thomas based on a difference of two-thousandths of a second.

“Mandy has worked very hard to get to nationals,” said Smelley. “She handled it very graciously. She did what she needed to do but just got edged up. She was disappointed with the result, but not disappointed in her performance.”

The day began with the combined events. Freshman Kristan Holding is in 13th place after the first day of the women’s heptathlon out of 16 competitors. In the 100 meter hurdles, Holding recorded a time of 16.19 to finish 12th. Her best performance of the day was in the high jump where she cleared 1.58 meters (5-2.25) and finished first in her flight. Overall, Holding tied for fourth in the event. In the shot put, Holding threw for 9.40 meters (30-10.25), placing 12th. In the 200 meters, she placed 14th with a time of 28.18.

Sophomore Kyle Kemper was the final qualifier for the men’s decathlon and after the first day of competition is in 16th place. Kemper’s time of 11.83 in the 100 meters earned him 13th place. Kemper posted a mark of 5.99 meters (19-8) in the long jump before putting the shot 10.08 meters (33-1), again finishing in 13th. In the high jump, he cleared 1.61 meters (5-3.25). His best performance of the day came in the 400 meters where his time of 53.73 earned him an 11th-place finish.

Both the heptathlon and decathlon with conclude tomorrow.

In the women’s 4 x 100 meters, senior Laurel Stormans, sophomore Elysia Hodges, freshman Kailyn Koopmans and Chevalier finished fifth in the second heat with a time of 48.37. Their 13th place finish overall did not allow them to advance to the finals.

“The 4 x 100 was our third best time in history,” said Smelley. “It was the first time we have ever run it at nationals. We had one good hand-off and two acceptable hand-offs. The time was respectable but the race wasn’t sharp overall.”

Evan Bradford produced a time of 4:01.94 in his seventh place finish in the first heat of the men’s 1500 meters.

“Evan ran a wise race and got in a good position,” noted Smelley. “He just didn’t have the finish against superior sprinters at the end.”

In the women’s 400 meter hurdles, Stormans ran a 66.48 and finished seventh in the second heat and did not advance to the finals.

“Laurel’s race was the biggest disappointment,” said Smelley. “She has been here twice before, she is motivated, she is running fast and she is very fit. The sense of calmness needed at the national meet just didn’t arrive.”

In the women’s 4 x 800 meters, freshman Ali Johnson, sophomore Corrine Cherne, freshman Jordan McCall and freshman Ceci Adam finished seventh in the third heat with a time of 9:52.89.

“The young ones were in panic mode,” said Smelley of the team. “They weren’t ready to handle the situation. They learned a great deal. They learned that it wasn’t the end of the world and that they can do it. It was a worthwhile learning experience.”

The day ended with freshman Jessica Meyer competing in the 10.000 meters and finishing twelfth.

“Jessica had a 33 second personal best since the conference meet a month ago,” said Smelley. “She gave a steady pace and stayed focus. She kept catching people and ran a very nice race for herself.”

Meyers time of 37:37.77 was the seventh fastest in the Westmont record books.