Trio Of Top Six Finishes Lead T&F At UW
SEATTLE, Wash. – A pair of second-place finishes, one by Obum Gwacham in the high jump and another by freshman Walter Jones in the long jump, and a sixth-place effort from Allie Church in the 200m, led the Oregon State track and field team at the UW Indoor Preview on Saturday.
Gwacham and Jones were part of a group of four Beaver football players who suited up for OSU in the team’s first indoor meet of the season. Gwacham cleared 7' ¼" during the meet at Dempsey Indoor in Seattle; his sixth-ever leap of more than seven feet and first since crossing at 7' 1½" at the Pac-12 Championships in 2012. He didn’t miss a bar, but passed on an attempt at 7' 2¼" to end his first competition in an Oregon State uniform in over a year.
Jones, one of the nation’s top long jumpers out of Redlands High School, came in second in his signature event, putting up a mark of 23-10.25 on both his first and last attempts.
“That’s Obum’s best opener ever,” Oregon State assistant coach Travis Floeck said. “He didn’t miss a bar today. We shut him down just to be cautious with some tendinitis in his knee, but it was pretty evident that he could have PR’d. Both had fantastic days. Walter’s not accustomed to going out and long jumping on January 18 so his mark was great. We’ve had a limited amount of time to work with the football guys, so we have to be pleased with the way they opened up.”
The Beavers best female finisher was Allie Church, a Lane Community College transfer and the program’s first dedicated sprinter since its reinstatement a decade ago. The junior ran a 25.42 200m to come in sixth overall in a field of 64. Church was also registered Oregon State’s best time in the 60m, running 7.71; fifth in her heat and 22nd overall.
“I thought she looked very strong,” Floeck said of Church. “She put up great marks in tough fields and looked tremendous. We’re definitely going to expand the sprints portion of the program, even starting next year with the recruiting class that we’re working on. Allie is already setting the tone for where we can go in that direction and gave a great start to the Oregon State sprinting campaign.”
Oregon State’s throwers, Melissa Ausman and Rachel Picknell, also put together solid performance in their first appearances for the Beavers. Ausman, a freshman, and Picknell, a sophomore transfer from Sacramento Community College, came in 14th and 18th in the weight throw, respectively. Ausman was third in her flight and posted a mark of 46' 4" on her third and final attempt. Picknell reached 41' 6" on her second of three throws.
The two also competed in the shot put with Picknell coming in ninth overall (39' 10½") and Ausman 13th (38' 8¼") out of a group of 39 entries.
“We still have work to do on the technical end, but I really liked what they had today,” Floeck added. “They’re great athletes and each made some nice adjustments, especially since it was the first-ever weight throw for both. That’s what you want to see and I liked their positive body language as well.”
Rust, Mason and Turney were the other Oregon State student-athletes to compete in multiple events on Saturday along with the throwers and Church. After fouling on her first two attempts, Rust leapt 16' 3¼" on her last try in the long jump to claim 23rd overall. Mason posted a mark of 15' 7" on her final attempt as well to come in 35th.
The school-record holder in the triple jump, Turney reached a distance of 36' 4" on Saturday to place seventh in her flight and 16th out of 34 overall competitors.
Jones, Stevie Coury and Malcolm Marable all finished in the top half of a 71-person field in the 60m. None of the three qualified for the 60m finals, but Jones’ time of 7.00 was good for 12th overall, Coury ran 7.01 (13th) and Marable crossed in 7.10 (27th).
“Really what we’re trying to do is set the tone for our indoor and an outdoor season,” Floeck said. “Our expectations of the group were to compete hard and be focused and they did that. They attacked this first meet. You don’t really go into a meet on January 18 expecting big-time marks, but we had a couple of those anyway.”
Oregon State returns to action at Dempsey Indoor for the UW Invitational on January 31 and February 1.