WSU Women Third, Men Seventh at MPSF Indoor Track Championships

Feb. 22, 2003

NAMPA, Idaho -- Strong performances from the Washington State women put the team in third place while the Cougar men finished seventh at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

The Stanford women won the 11-team meet with 171 points followed by UCLA with 161.5 points and WSU with 68. The UCLA men were the team winners Saturday with 127.5 points with Stanford second at 99. The WSU men scored 41 points in the 10-team competition, 16 points behind Idaho's 57 points and fourth-place finish.

Cougars Tiffany Giles, Whitney Evans and Bennie Chatman all won events in the final day of competition at the Jacksons Track.

Giles, a senior from Seattle running in the slower of the two final heats, won the women's 400m dash with an NCAA Provisional Qualifying time of 54.08 seconds. That time was a PR for Giles and also surpassed teammate Ellannee Richardson's school record time of 54.14 clocked in 2001. Monique Jessie (Compton, Calif.) finished third in the 400m dash with a PR time of 54.70. Richardson (Gladstone, Ore.) ran a season-best time of 24.09 for third place in the 200m dash while Giles, coming off her 400m win with little time to rest, ran a 24.91 and finished eighth.

Richardson was the runner-up in the 60m hurdles with an NCAA PQ and PR time of 8.42. Freshman Diana Pickler (Sasche, Texas) ran a PR of 8.64 for seventh place. Richardson also propelled the Cougar women to second place in the 4x400m relay (Giles, Jessie, Tamara Gulley, Richardson) as she ran an anchor leg of 54.1 and WSU finished in a time of 3:44.23, just one second behind Stanford's winning time.

Evans (Calgary, Alb., Canada) won the high jump after clearing 1.83m/6-feet even, which equaled her lifetime-best mark but bettered her NCAA PQ mark by 3/4 inch.

Blessing Ufodiama (Long Beach, Calif.) added points with her third place finish in the triple jump (12.38m/40-7 1/2) and was one of three jumpers to break the Jacksons Track record of 12.26m/40-2 3/4.

The Cougar women's distance medley relay of Molly Bull, Julie Pickler, Angelita Green and Anna Blue took third place with a time of 11:50.00.

Chatman came through with the 60m dash win for the Cougar men after the coaches scratched Anthony Buchanan from the final, not wanting to risk injury after Buchanan's limited indoor training. Chatman, a senior from Houston, Texas, had a winning time of 6.85 while an opponent he races regularly, Idaho's Nikela Ndebele, ran 6.87 for second place.

Senior Rick Collins (Spokane) and freshman Tyson Byers (Spokane) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the pole vault as both cleared PRs of 5.15m/16-10 3/4. Arizona's Kevin Opalka won the event clearing 5.25m/17-2 3/4. Byers bettered his freshman school record by 1 1/4 inches.

Justin Ireland (Issaquah, Wash.) finished seventh in the men's 800m run although he ran a better time in the Friday prelims. Ireland went on the be the lead runner in the DMR (Josh Leyk, Jon Manthey, Reid Carrell) as the Cougars finished seventh in a time of 10:30.08.

The WSU men's 4x400m relay team of Darion Powell, Lamarr Kirk, Dan Brink and Qieed Ishmael finished sixth in a time of 3:16.19.

'We have a few people preparing for the NCAA Championships but most of the team will prepare for the outdoor season now,' Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. 'We have a couple of indoor competitions left but will utilize those to get people ready for the outdoor season. We have four weeks to prepare for our first outdoor meet at Arizona. We need to keep the ball rolling for some of the people who are performing well and we need the other people back to basics and not worry too much about competition but spend time in the training and get our level of performance up to where it needs to be.'

Next week the Washington State men's and women's teams are scheduled to compete at the University of Washington Pac-10 Invitational Indoor Meet at Seattle.

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