Gomez Punches Ticket to Nationals at CSM Twilight Invitational
GOLDEN, CO - The Mines Twilight Invitational would have been more appropriately named the Mines Midnight Invitational.
But despite the late hour, the extra wait was well worth it as Steve Gomez became the first UCCS high jumper to qualify for the National Championships. In the night's final event, Gomez""formerly ranked 13th in the country""placed first en route to his automatic qualifying mark of 2.11 meters to punch his ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
"Steve had a really great night, obviously," said sprints coach David Harmer. "When he cleared his personal best height earlier, he just went for the automatic height."
Gomez, along with Shannon Payne, are the team's two automatic qualifiers thus far in the season.
The women's distance medley relay team of Kelsey Barry, Dawn Eckert, Kait Frier, and Payne clocked a provisional time of 12:31 to tie the school record and take second place.
In the men's distance medley, David Mueller, Alex Vazquez, Chris Reynolds, and Alex Tiernan, a provisional time of 10:10 (with altitude adjustment) was narrowly missed with the men's 10:26""also good for second place.
"Everyone competed very aggressively despite the smaller field sizes," Harmer explained. "Most of our sprinters ran splits faster than what we had them down for."
Jason Shaver had his first collegiate victory in the men's 400 meter dash as he placed first in 53.42. Shaver then took sixth in the 200.
In the women's 400, Tracey Falsetto and Kylie Honigford placed fifth and sixth respectively and were followed by Jenny Hunt in 11th. Hunt earlier claimed fifth in the 200 meter dash in 28.06.
On the distance side of things, Alicia Del Pardo led the way for the Mountain Lions in the 3000 meters with her time of 11:11 and was followed by Christy Severy, Tavia Hammond, and Leslie Bennett in sixth, seventh, and eighth places. On the men's side, the pair of Carlos Ruibal and Joel Kienitz finished side by side in fifth and sixth.
Trevor Nau threw to a distance of 11.24 meter, good for 21st, in the men's shot put. Preston Williams followed in 29th, while decathlete Brien Hopkins took 31st and Carl Lum placed 32nd.
Hopkins earlier took 19th in the pole vault while Lum placed 14th in the 60 meter hurdles.
Ailena McDonald's long-jump-triple-jump-double earned her eighth in the triple and 14th in the long jump.
The Mines meet acted as the team's final tune-up before the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships February 27-28 in Chadron Nebraska.
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