PORTLAND, Ore. -- After a strong first day the Weber State men's track and field team sits in first place at the 2013 Big Sky Outdoor Championships.
The Wildcat women's team is in the mix at the meet held in Portland, Ore. WSU sits sixth overall.
The Wildcat men had a strong day totaling 47.5 points to hold a seven-point lead over Sacramento State. Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona are tied for third.
The 'Cats captured two events on Friday. They got off to a great start by picking up 22 points in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Trevor Ricks, who was WSU's third runner in the event coming in, captured the Big Sky title with a time of 8:47.10. Mike Hardy was in a photo finish for second, finishing in 8:47.80, and John Coyle took fifth at 9:02. It marked the third consecutive year the Wildcats have finished first and second in the steeplechase.
At the same time as the steeplechase was going on, Cylor Morgan captured first place in the men's long jump. The Amarillo, Texas, native posted a career best mark of 24-11.25 to win the event by more than one foot. That mark ranks as the third best in Weber State history and ranks 29th in the country this season. Morgan also won the Big Sky title in the long jump at this year's conference indoor championships. The 'Cats totaled 18 points in the long jump with Logan Leavitt finishing fourth at 23-1.75 and Chris Struckman taking sixth at 22-8.50.
In other events, senior Derek Harrebomee earned all-conference honors by finishing third in the hammer throw with a mark of 188-4. Harrebomee also finished in a tie for eighth in the shot put. Mike Staker picked up one point by finishing eighth in the high jump.
"It was a really good start for us. Even better than we had hoped for," said WSU men's coach Dan Walker. "We got off to a great start in the steeplechase where Trevor Ricks was terrific, as were Mike and John. The long jump was another big event for us and Cylor did an outstanding job. We also had other step up and perform well. The trials also went better than we thought and had several qualify for the finals,". The whole team performed at a very high level today. We are in a position and have good momentum going into the final day."
On the women's side the Wildcats have 23 points.
The top performance once again for the Wildcats was senior Amber Henry who repeated as Big Sky champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Henry, currently third in the nation in the event, won the race Friday with a time of 10:14.22, winning by nearly 14 seconds. Henry's time is a new stadium record. She also won the steeplechase at last year's outdoor meet.
Senior Laken Hintze was fourth in 10:33.99 and will now qualify for the NCAA First Round in the event. Freshman Alice Keller took sixth at 10:57.78. The Wildcats totaled 18 of their 23 points in the steeplechase.
Britlie Silvester was the only other Wildcat to score points on Friday as she placed in two events Friday with two career bests. She was fifth in the hammer throw at 174-2, the second best in Weber State history. She also took eighth in the shot put with a mark of 45-1.50.
"Amber was terrific once again and just ran an easy race for her," said WSU coach Jim Blaisdell. "She has been outstanding all year and was again today. Laken and Alice also ran well and Britlie did a great job in the throwing events. We are a very young team and didn't perform as well as we had hoped in several events. We should be able to still pick up some points in the events on Saturday."