USU track: four Aggies take gold at Sacramento State's Mondo Mid-Major Challenge

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, April 13 2013 6:35 p.m. MDT

Utah State's men's and women's track and field teams had four student-athletes win gold in their respective events at Sacramento State's Mondo Mid-Major Challenge at Hornet Stadium in sunny Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday through Saturday.

The USU men tallied 127 points to place second as a team, while the Aggie women ended the day with a fourth-place team finish with 96.5 points. Overall, Utah State had 33 top-six finishes during the three-day meet.

Winning their individual event for the Aggies included sophomores Chari Hawkins in the women's high jump with a leap of 1.71m (5-07.25), Travis Johnson in the men's triple jump with a mark of 14.14m (46-04.75) and Nic Bowens in the men's 200m dash (21.57), along with senior Will Henry in the men's 100m (10.57).

"We came into this meet wanting warm weather and good performances. We really had good performances on both the men and women's sides," USU coach Gregg Gensel said. "The thing that I think is significant for the men is that it has been awhile since we have been able to beat a BYU team. For us to come here and focus on individual events and have the teams do so well in the team scoring says a lot about where we are as a program."

Earning second-place honors for the USU women were seniors Stephanie Burt in the 3,000m steeplechase (10:57.82) and Alex Litzsinger in the 5,000m (17:12.89), as well as sophomore Jodi Williams in the high jump with a mark of 1.68m (5-06.00) and junior Kaylee Hartshorn in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 43.35m (142-03). With the mark in the javelin, Hartshorn now ranks sixth in school history. Hawkins continued her strong day with a third-place finish in the 100m hurdles (14.14) and a fifth-place effort in the long jump with a mark of 5.49m (18-00.25).

Placing second for the USU men was freshmen Cole Lambourne and Briton Page in the 400m and 800m races with a personal-best times of 47.81 and 1:49.44, respectively. Junior Kyle McKenna also placed second in the 5,000m (14:34.66), as did sophomore Eric Shellhorn in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:09.21) and the 4x100m relay team (41.17), which consisted of Bowens, Henry, Lambourne and freshman Kalon Weston. Bowens also placed third in the 200m (21.57), as did Weston in the 400m hurdles with a personal-best time of 53.35. Sophomore Jacob Barton also finished third in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:20.37), and junior Xavier Williford Jr. rounded out the top-three placers with a leap of 2.00m (6-06.75) in the high jump.

Fourth-place finishers for the Aggie women included senior Ruth Hilton in the 3,000m steeplechase (11:19.11), sophomore Ashley Robison in the 5,000m (17:39.50), sophomore Mariah Thompson in the high jump with a mark of 1.68m (5-06.00) and senior Aubriann Bosen in the heptathlon with a personal-best point total of 4,727. Freshman Jacqueline Winterton placed fifth in the 5,000m (17:43.90), and sophomore Melanie Heslop finished sixth in the discus with a toss of 42.75m (140-03). The 4x100m relay team that consisted of senior Bri Campbell, freshmen Mikkell Minnoch and Kaitlyn Wilcox, and Hawkins placed fifth with a time of 48.19.

Shellhorn also placed fourth in the men's 1,500m (3:52.31), while senior David Cluff crossed the finish line in fourth place for the men's 3,000m steeplechase (9:38.33). Sophomore Michael Cardinal placed fourth and fifth in the shot put and discus with personal-best throws of 16.64m (54-07.25) and 49.81m (163-05), respectively, while senior Tyler Killpack finished in fifth place for the 800m with a personal-best time of 1:50.53. Rounding out the top-six placers for the USU men was freshman Sam Nelson who cleared a personal-best 4.70m (15-05.00) to place fifth in the pole vault and senior Sam Hawkins who tallied a personal-best point total of 5,675 to claim sixth place in the decathlon.

Utah State will host their lone home meet of the season, the Mark Faldmo Invitational, on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20, at Ralph Maughan Track Stadium in Logan, Utah. For more information on the Mark Faldmo Invitational, fans can visit the track and field page.

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