Gonzaga University’s men’s and women’s track and field programs continued their indoor season Friday night at the Washington State Open at The Podium.
Evan Bates led a bunch of Zags in the 3K and ran 8:15.56 for fourth place. Bryce Cerkowniak was ninth in 8:23.27. Matthew Roberts, Ansel Tucker, Jaxon Mackie, Jeremiah Mackie and Brenden Charbeneau finished 17thth until 21Stor.
In the distance medley relay, the GU “A” team finished fourth as the team of Bates, Carp Mukai, Riley Moore and Radosevich clocked a time of 10:10.11. The “B” team finished sixth as the team of Brendan Charbeneau, Cooper Laird and the Mackie brothers clocked a time of 10:27.94.
Mukai also finished third on the mile with 4:15.89, while James Powers ran 4:48.98 and finished 29thth.
“We train in tough weather conditions — based on strength, not leg rotation quality,” Pat Tyson, director of men’s cross country and athletics, said in an interview with gozags.com.
In the women’s, Kate Donaldson finished her teammates Brittney Hansen and Lilly Visser on the women’s mile in 5:05.94, good enough for seventh place. Hansen finished 11thth in 5:07.59 and Visser was 18thth at 5:14.42.
Alyssa Bienfang was sixth in the 800m in a time of 2:16.12. Hansen finished 11ththruns 2:19.96.
Freshman Ellie Armbruster, who just set a record for her last time on the podium, broke her own school record in the 400-meter dash, running 59.51 for ninth place. Armbruster was also 31stSt in the 200-meter dash with 26.66.
Following the Washington State Open, the Washington State Invitational took place on Saturday afternoon.
On the women’s mile, GU’s Bienfang strode the 600 meters in a time of 1:49.21 before retiring from the race. Jillian Greene was third for the first six laps before being bypassed in the last 400 to eventually finish 10thth in a time of 5:01.52. Makenna Edwards was 20thruns 5:12.39.
GU women’s track and field is ranked 15th in the West Region on the United States Track & Field Rating Index (TFRI) by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA). The TFRI is calculated based on the indoor performances in the 2021 season.
The No. 15 mark is the highest in program history for Jake Stewart’s roster and is fueled by a standout performance in the women’s individual medley. Her 11:54.69 run at the Cougar Classic is No. 7 in the nation. Alicia Anderson’s 4:48.02 mile run at the Larry Wieczorek Invite is fifth in the West Region and No. 60 in the nation.
Although GU had no rivals on the men’s mile, Duncan Hamilton of Montana State broke the 4-minute mile barrier and ran 3:59.65 to become the first lone competitor in podium history to break the mark. Ben Perrin – the brother of GU runner Jake Perrin – was second in 4:01.35.
Greene finished eighth overall in the 800-meter dash. Greene stormed to the front of the pack with 200 yards left before edging out Idaho’s Leah Holmgren in 2:16.29 to take first place in her run and improve on her No. 10 time in the West Region.
GU got off to a fast start in the women’s 3K as Greene, Anderson, Edwards and Liz Hogan controlled the early laps of the race. Greene retired after 1000 meters and put Anderson to the first kilometer in 3:07.47. Edwards retired from the race a lap later after putting Hogan in second place.
Anderson eventually won the 3K, winning the race in a time of 9:43.47 and just missing her own course record set earlier this season at the Cougar Classic. Hogan finished second, running 10:08.17.
“For the whole group, it’s really about ending the indoor season with something to build on when you go outside,” said Jake Stewart, GU women’s head coach. “It’s just doing one last nudge and stepping out of our comfort zone to see where we can land.”
Although the men started sparingly at the Washington State Open, their indoor season got off to a good start.
At the Washington Invitational in Seattle, James Mwaura picked up right where he left off when he crashed and broke the GU program record for the 3K in 7:54.50 by more than two seconds. Teammate Dominic Arce set the fourth fastest time in program history, crossing the finish line in 8:05.65. Last but not least, Kyle Radosevich posted the 10thth best mark in team history, finishing behind Arce in a time of 8:16.18.
Mwaura will compete on the podium in a star-studded 3K field at next Friday’s Lilac City Grand Prix. The specialty event’s six-man field includes four professional runners from the Oregon Track Club, Ben Blankenship and Jake Heyward, and Brook’s Beasts runners David Ribich and Waleed Suliman. The only other colleague in the field is Sam Gilman from the Air Force.
Blankenship, an Olympian, placed eighth overall in the 1500 meter dash at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He also boasts the eighth fastest indoor mile in US history.
Ribich, from La Grande, Oregon, set the DII 1500-meter dash record while at Western Oregon University before turning pro after college.
Every pro in the field has broken the four-minute mark on the mile. At the time of publication, the prize money for first place was $561, second was $337, and third was $224.
The rest of the men’s and women’s teams will take to the track on February 11 in Seattle at the Whitworth Invitational at the Podium and the Husky Invitational. The Zags have a month off before the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 11 in Birmingham, Alabama.