Nearly every race is a program record when the women’s track team is this new.
Runners on the Dixie State University women’s track team participated at the Utah/Weber State Spring Classic Friday and Saturday, which was held at Utah State University Friday and Weber State University Saturday. Although several program records were set and personal records were broken, the DSU runners fell behind the competition for almost every race.
This season is the first season for the women’s track team at DSU. Head coach Justin Decker, who is also the cross country coach in the fall, said his only goals for the women’s track team is to improve during each meet.
“This is our first season with the track team, so we are not too focused on competing right now,” Decker said. “We’re instead focusing on improving and growing our program.”
Junior Skyler Storie set the DSU school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase Friday with a time of 12:30.73, which was a 12-second personal record. Even though it was a school record, Storie finished 35 seconds slower than the previous runner and 66 seconds slower than the winner. Following Storie were freshmen Heather Lacey and Marieta Wright, who were the last two steeplechasers to cross the finish line out of seven competitors.
DSU does not have the facilities to practice steeplechase at home, so Storie said the DSU steeplechasers have to wake up early before the meets to practice the jumps and water pit on the race course.
Storie also set the DSU record in the 5,000-meter run Saturday with a time of 19:41.34. The five runners from DSU in the 5,000-meter run were the last five runners to finish the race.
Coming off from a redshirt season in cross country in the fall, Storie said she is still recovering her time and adjusting to the racing mentality.
“We were competing against Division I teams that have not only women but men, throws and jumps for years and years, so their programs are very well established,” said Storie, an exercise science major from Cottomwood, Arizona. “We’re just figuring out where we stand this year. It’s a big learning curve for all of us.”
Sophomore Rebecca Opoulos ran the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles Friday. She set school records for both events with a time of 13.07 on the 100-meter dash and 15.89 on the hurdles. Opoulos finished 22nd out of 24 in the 100-meter dash and 18th out of 23 in the hurdles. Opoulos also ran the 400-meter dash and finished with a last-place time of 1:02.95. She also ran the 400-meter hurdles and was the last runner to cross the finish line with a time of 1:09.61.
“[My times] were a little slow,” said Opoulos, a communication major from Sterling. “But it was nice to have a tailwind on the 100-meter hurdles and the 100-meter [dash].”
Another school record was set in shot put. Freshman Gemille Eldredge tossed the shot 8.54 meters Friday. Even though the DSU track team specializes in distance running, Eldredge took the initiative to compete in field events like shot put and discuss, said Keric Seegmiller, the assistant athletics coordinator for media relations.
The six DSU runners in the 800-meter run stuck together for the race and all finished within 15 seconds of each other. Sophomore Noelle Hele, who placed 28th overall, was the first out of the DSU runners to cross the finish line with a time of 2:37.86.
Decker said even though the women’s track time is new and still learning how to be more competitive, five or six women on the team will likely qualify for the Pacific West Conference championship, including Storie and Opoulos. In order to qualify for the championship, a runner must be one of the top 16 in her event.
The DSU women’s track team will continue their first season by heading to Logan and competing in the Utah State Mark Faldmo Invitational Friday and Saturday.