Aztecs Advance 13 Athletes to Finals at MWC Championships
May 16, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas - San Diego State had three new athletes qualify for the NCAA West Regionals and advanced 13 individuals to the finals in six different events on Friday at the 2008 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at TCU's Lowdon Track and Field Complex. After three days of competition, the Aztecs find themselves in sixth place with 20 points heading into the fourth and final day.
Of the sprinting events, SDSU qualified the most athletes in the 200-meter dash. Sherraine Pencil led the way for the Aztecs after she qualified for regionals in the event for the first time this season with a time of 23.82 seconds, which was good for second in her heat and fourth overall. Clocking in right behind the senior team captain was junior Shana Solomon with her regional-effort and fifth-place time of 23.88. Similar to her two teammates, junior Decontee Kaye logged a regional-qualifying time of 23.96, the first of her career, and came in sixth, while freshman Jessika Hornsby moved into Saturday's finals after crossing the finish line in 24.21.
In the preliminaries of the 100, San Diego State secured three berths in the finals after Solomon, Kaye and senior Alicia Lowery finished among the field's top nine. Solomon earned an automatic spot in the finals after she posted the top time in Heat 1 at 11.61, which was also a regional-qualifying standard. Meanwhile, Kaye (11.80) and Lowery (11.87) both set personal records after finishing sixth and eighth, respectively.
In addition to advancing to the finals of the 200, Pencil will also vie for the 400 title after running her best race of 2008 in the preliminary round. The Toronto, Canada, native ran a season best 54.00 to finish second in her heat and third overall. It marked the second time this season in which she has posted a regional-qualifying mark. Joining Pencil in the championship round will be freshman Kyanna Thomas, who registered a fifth-place performance after clocking in with a time of 55.02.
Freshman Briana Johnson succeeded in her effort to gain a spot in the 100-meter hurdles field for the regional meet, logging a personal-record time of 13.72. The Orlando, Fla., product secured regional bid and finals berth after she won Heat 2, while junior Kristin Olafsdottir completed the race in second place with a finals-advancing and personal-record matching mark of 13.94. Olafsdottir, who established a PR two days earlier in the heptathlon (14.05) just missed out on a regional-qualifying performance by .02 seconds.
As the lone Aztec competitor in the 400 hurdles, Olafsdottir made it 2-for-2 when she punched her ticket to the finals with another PR of 59.27 (third place overall). Her runner-up effort in Heat 2 improved upon her ninth-best time in school history.
The last SDSU athlete of the day to move on to the finals was Mandy Upuu. The senior will make her third straight appearance in the 800 finals after she finished second in her heat and fourth overall with a time of 2 minutes, 16.56 seconds.
In the finals of the long jump, Shana Watson earned all-conference honors after finishing in third place with a regional-qualifying and personal-record leap of 20 feet, 1.50 inches. Her effort was the second-best in the field as there was a tie for first and improves upon her fifth-longest jump on SDSU's all-time performance list. Kaye, meanwhile, finished in the sixth with a jump of 19-6.75 and sophomore Kai Wheeler turned in a personal-record measurement of 18-10.50 (11th).
In the championships of the javelin throw, junior Michele Dannhausen established a lifetime best with a toss of 138-7. Her seventh-place showing was good enough to earn points for the Aztecs in the event for the first time since 2004.
Final-day action of the MWC Championships will commence on Saturday at 10 a.m. CT.
Mountain West Conference Championships