It was dry, warm and windy last weekend at the Sun Angel Track Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
Some athletes had a particularly hard day due to the fact that they were always heading into the wind.
“The sprinters and hurdlers had it tough,” said women’s coach Deanne Vochatzer. “The headwinds made it hard.”
Still, several athletes persevered and hit the ground running. Performances by Matt Council, Michael Peterson and Alex Wilright showed that some Aggies didn’t back down from the challenge of competing with the best.
Council ran the 400-meter in 47.63, finishing third and breaking his personal best by .03 seconds.
Peterson, in his first collegiate Sun Angel Track Classic, cleared 16 feet and 1.25 inches while posting the team’s best height this year.
Wilright broke the school record he set in the Cal-Neva championships, finishing third in the 400 hurdles in 50.47. He then came back to anchor the 4×400 team that ran 3:11.22 and is now the second fastest relay in school history.
“Alex did really, really well in the 400 hurdles,” said men’s coach Jon Vochatzer. “What was even better was that he anchored the relay, and we got the best time of the year.”
Kaitlin Gregg and Anikia Jackson also showed that the women could compete.
Gregg took fourth as she ran the 5,000 in 16:40.75-four seconds faster than her previous best.
Jackson posted a new personal best of 18 feet, 6.5 inches, taking third in the long jump.
Though this is another meet where the throwers had off-days, Ashley Hearn posted respectable distances in the shot put, hammer throw and discus. In addition, Ed Orgon placed fifth in the shot put with a distance of 53-3.75.
Still, for such an important event with tough competitions looming, the coaches expected a much more consistent performance from the entire squad.
“We didn’t set the world on fire like we wanted to,” Vochatzer said. “We had the chance, but the team is still waiting for someone to take charge.”
This passivity is even more alarming due to the fact that the Aggies are still pursuing good individual times in preparation for Big West Conference and NCAA Championships next month.
“We want to be prepared,” Deanne Vochatzer said. “We are still chasing solid marks to qualify, and we really need to reexamine ourselves.”
While all is not lost, there is still a sense of disappointment.
“We didn’t jump off of the bridge and there’s still a little time to get our act together,” Deanne Vochatzer said. “But the reality is that a lot of people on the team lost great opportunities to do well.”
The Aggies look to regain their stride as they host the Woody Wilson Classic on Saturday.
MATT WANG can be reached at email@example.com.