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Davis, California

Monday, July 26, 2021

Aggies start strong in Washington

The Aggie men brought one distance runner up to Washington for Saturday’s season debut. They returned home with one school record.

After redshirting the cross country season due to injury, sophomore Jonathan Peterson returned to action in style, clocking 8:16.99 to take third in his heat of the 3,000m. Already No. 2 in the outdoor 3,000m, his time crushed the old indoor mark held by former Aggie great Chris Ferren-Cirino (2007).

“It was great getting back into competition,” Peterson said. “It’s been a while since I put the jersey on, so I was excited from the get-go. To come out and perform like that is a pretty good way to start the season.”

The 60m hurdles, unsurprisingly, saw two strong efforts from junior Jazz Trice and senior Poly Gnepa. Both advanced to the finals, where they placed third and fourth, respectively, losing only to athletes who competed at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Trice set a PR in the heats before setting another PR in the finals, clocking 8.04 to move to just .01 behind Gnepa’s school record from 2007.

The field event highlight came from junior Ben Nelson in the high jump. In his first competition in over a year, Nelson cleared 2.00m (6-6.75) on his first attempt to tie for seventh.

“Ben was off last year,” said coach Jon Vochatzer. “He went 6-11 for us two years ago. He was going to go on a church mission outside the U.S. [after that] but things didn’t work out.

“He returned to school this year, after not jumping for over a year, not even getting to a pad. So he came out for the first time jumping in a year and pops 6-8. Once he gets his timing down – once he has that – I think he’ll go seven-plus feet. He’s a talented athlete.”

Though forgoing the 4x400m, the relay core saw four Aggies – Nolan Frazier, Thomas Phillips, Alex Wilright and Micah Grant – contest the open 400m, though all in separate heats. Phillips led the group with a 49.43 for third in his heat, and Wilright was second in his with a 49.48

“For our first indoor meet since last year,” Vochatzer said, “I wasn’t sure what we were going to go after, but we had a really good meet overall. I’m really pleased. I think the kids are really pleased. It’s nice to come back to this spot and really do something.

“We were always in the shadow of the big schools, and it’s really nice to be a part of the action and be a part of all the heavy hitters, and have all the other coaches recognize that. That’s what really nice.”

 

ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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