Another meet and another school record for Weber State's Sarah Callister, highlight an exciting weekend of sports action for the Wildcats.
Callister set a school record in the 5,000 meters late Friday night for her second school record in the last two WSU track meets she has competed in.
Callister posted a time of 16:01.47 in the 5,000 meters at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., one of the top meets in the nation each year. The junior's time topped the school record of 16:07.94 set by Rebecca Bennion in 2001. It is the second best time in Big Sky Conference history. It also is a personal best time for Callister by 41 seconds.
Earlier this month Callister set a WSU and Big Sky record in the 10,000 meters and qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the event.
Callister was one of several members of the WSU track and field teams that had success over the weekend as the Wildcats competed at three different meets.
Also at Mt. Sac, junior Amber Henry posted a career-best time of 10:00.17 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. That time is the fourth best in school history and ranks as the fourth best in the nation.
Laken Hintze also recorded a top 10 time in the steeplechase with a 10:37.46.
Amanda Alston had a career-best time of 55.24 in the 400 meters at Mt. Sac, currently the second best in the Big Sky this season.
On the men's side at Mt. Sac, Mike Hardy posted a career-best 8:55.75 in the steeplechase and Trevor Ricks came in at 9:07.92. Zach Parry had a mark of 187-9 in the hammer throw.
"This was a good experience for us to compete down here and we had some great performances," said WSU women's coach Jim Blaisdell. "Our distance runners continue to have outstanding performances and are running extremely well. This was mainly a group of seniors here competing so it was a good experience for them to compete with teams from across the country."
A large group of the Wildcat teams were at the Mark Faldmo Utah State Invitational in Logan and the Wildcats took advantage of a beautiful day.
On the men's side, the 'Cats won five events and picked up three new conference qualifiers.
Chris Stuckman took first in the 100 meters with a career-best time of 10.64, 10th best in WSU history and the second best in the Big Sky this season.
Matt White won the 200 meters in 21.64 and Jonathan McUne won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.41. Issac Akers was the top collegiate finisher in the 400-meter hurdles at 54.08 and the Wildcats were also first in both relay events.
In the field events, Struckman finished as the second collegiate finisher in the high jump at 6-6.75. Mike Staker qualified for the conference meet in the high jump at 6-4.75.
Justin Watts won the javelin with a mark of 176-3 and finished fourth in the hammer throw at 161-2, both personal bests and both marks just missed qualifying for the conference championship.
The 'Cats had two new qualifiers in the 1,500 meters as Kurt Ward and Brett Lechtenberg reached the qualifying standard.
On the women's side, freshman Lindsey McFarland won the 800 meters with a personal-best 2:16.70 and freshman Caitlin Paulsen was third at 2:16.99, also a career best time.
Katherine Wishmeyer finished second in the 400 meters with a career-best 56.58 and Kiersten Watkins was fourth in the 400 meter hurdles with a career-best 1:05.15, just missing the conference qualifying time. Taryn Willie won the long jump at 17-1.25.
"Our group got better as a team this weekend and that is what you are looking for, especially this time of year," said WSU men's coach Dan Walker.
Weber State will next compete at the BYU Robison Invitational next weekend in Provo. The 'Cats will host the Weber State Twilight on May 2 at Stewart Stadium, the final meet before the Big Sky Championships May 9-12 in Bozeman, Mont.
* WILDCATS FALL IN BIG SKY TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS: At Sacramento, Calif., the Weber State men's tennis team saw its season come to an end on Saturday despite a spirited effort against No. 1 seeded Montana in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals.
The Wildcats jumped out early, taking the doubles point, but the Grizzlies rallied back in singles, winning four of the six matches for a 4-3 win to advance to the conference championship match.
Simon Unger and Oliver Good got things going for the Wildcats in doubles, downing Mikolaj Caruk and Andrew Warren 8-3 at No. 1.
Ryan Garner and Dave Hintze followed, winning a 9-7 battle with Ben Demarois and Carl Kuschke to give the opening point to the Wildcats.
Ethan Vaughn tied the match for Montana with a win at No. 5 singles, but Unger put WSU ahead again with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kuschke at No. 1 singles.
Hintze then defeated Michael Facey 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 4 singles match to put the Wildcats ahead 3-1, and within a point of clinching the upset victory, but Weber State would not get that last point.
Montana finished off the match, taking straight-sets wins in the No. 2, 3, and 6 matches for the come-from-behind win.
Sacramento State topped Montana 4-0 on Sunday in the championship match for the Hornets' 10th Big Sky title.
* CHUGG LEADS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT, WILDCATS SIT FIFTH: At Chandler, Ariz., Weber State's Kelsey Chugg fired a two-under-par 70 to lead all players in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Championships at Ocotillo Golf Resort on Sunday.
Chugg's round fueled WSU's team score of 306, which places the Wildcats in fifth after 18 holes.
"Kelsey was really unbelievable for us today," said WSU coach Jeff Smith. "Her iron play was phenomenal. I think she hit 16 or 17 greens, and it was one of the easiest 70s I've ever seen. She was on cruise control all day long.
"Kelsey carried us today. Jordan (Ulibarri) also played well, but we didn't get a lot of depth, so we can definitely improve from here."
Northern Colorado leads the field after shooting a 290 on the day. Sacramento State is six shots back at 296, while Northern Arizona is another two back at 298. Montana shot a 303 to sit three shots ahead of Weber State in fourth place.
Chugg got into red figures with a birdie on the par-4 third hole, and remained at one-under-par until a bogey on the eighth hole. The junior bounced back on the ninth with a birdie, recording a one-under-par 35 on the opening nine.
Chugg's card remained unblemished for the remainder of the day, as she recorded eight-consecutive pars on the inward half, before finishing off her round with a birdie on the par-5 18th, her third of the day.
A trio of players recorded one-under 71s to tie for second on the day. Lauren Howell of Montana, and Northern Colorado sisters Carleigh and Chelsea Silvers each sit one shot back of Chugg heading into today's second round.
Another trio, Sac State's Lexie Hall, NAU's Stephanie Kim, and Northern Colorado's Hannah McNeley all shot even-par to tie for fifth.
Senior Jordan Ulibarri supported Chugg's day with a four-over-par 76, joining her teammate in the top-20 with a tie for 16th position.
Amanda Snyder and Alli Cluff each shot 80 on the first round to tie for 30th after the opening round. Sara Federico shot 86, and sits in 40th place after one round.
"Northern Colorado was definitely the surprise team today," said Smith. "They are a good team, but they really had a great round today. Sac State's the favorite, and they are right there, but after that, there's really a bunched middle of the pack. There are moves to be made out there over the next two days, and hopefully, we can be one of the teams to make a positive move."
The teams will play 18 holes on both Monday and Tuesday to wrap up the 54-hole tournament.
Montana's Tara Green, a Weber High product, shot an opening 80.