15 Vandal men and women sit amongst top-20 in Big Sky Conference
Having taken last weekend off, the Idaho track and field distance runners are looking forward to getting back into competition Saturday at the 44th Annual Pelluer Invitational with the Eastern Washington Eagles in Cheney, Washington.
Joining the two teams is fellow Big Sky member Montana. With so much inner-conference competition, the Vandals look to see where they sit in the field.
Idaho coach Cathleen Cawley said with so many potential indicators, this weekend’s meet is a big one for the teams.
“I’m excited to watch the distance crew as a whole and then see the throwers and watch them build and grow and see where they’re going,” Cawley said. “On the sprint squad, I’m really excited to watch Wednesday Walton in the 400 hurdles and Andrea Pikes in the 200. Those two are definitely going to be chasing down some conference marks.”
Unlike the WAC, where each school sends the same number of representatives to the conference championship meet, the Big Sky only takes the top-20 seeded athletes for each event who have met the standard time throughout the conference. This system gives athletes the opportunity to make every meet count toward earning a spot in the championship meet.
As of now, both Walton and Pikes are respectively ranked within conference. With an official time of 1 minute, 5.72 seconds, Walton currently ranks No. 20 for the Big Sky in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, while her teammate Pikes is tied for 10th place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.17 seconds. Qualifying marks for the events are 1:02.00 and 12 seconds, respectively.
The Vandals have fared better on the field events side, where an impressive 15 athletes from the men’s and women’s teams hold top 20 Big Sky marks. Athletes who are ranked, and currently qualified for the Big Sky Championships if they keep their ranking, include senior Emmanuel Panchol in the triple jump, senior Zach Trumbauer in the hammer throw, sophomore Kolcie Bates in the discus throw and sophomore Adara Winder in the shot put.
With the exception of junior Tayler Feinauer, all of the top-20 ranked Vandal women are sophomores. Having young talent make an early impact is something Cawley said is an exciting opportunity.
“First of all, they only had one year with former coaches,” Cawley said of the sophomores. “They just came out of high school and it’s two years of transition right in a row. Things are starting to settle in and we look to continue that training. I think everyone is coming along in good spots and I think there’s a lot of room for them to go.”
Kyle Schumaker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org