Vandals take third at WAC Indoor Championships
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 02/27/2010
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NAMPA, Idaho - Idaho's women couldn't overcome a strong Louisiana Tech effort and the men took third in a very tight team finish on Saturday at the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Jacksons Indoor Track.

The Vandal women scored 102 points, while the men's team tallied 121.5. Idaho's weekend featured five individual WAC champions, which included two winners on Saturday. The women were edged by just 2.5 points by Utah State for second.

"On the men's side, we were disappointed in third," Idaho co-head coach Wayne Phipps said. "We had some things not go our way, but we also didn't compete the way we needed to to win."

Sophomore Lauren Schaffer dominated the women's 800m as she took a big lead early on and never even glanced back in running a personal-best 2:11.30 and winning the event by more than four seconds.

"I like running from ahead," Schaffer said of her huge lead in the race. "I kind of hear things on the track, so I thought they were actually right behind me."

Idaho's women earned their second gold medal of the day when senior K.C. Dahlgren cleared 4.00m (13-1.5) in the pole vault to become a repeat winner in the event.

"I think I almost gave my coach a heart attack, because I missed twice at my opening height, then decided to go to a bigger pole," Dahlgren said. "But it worked out and cleared it and settled down after that. I was glad to get a team goal and win, but I would have liked to get a little bit better height."

Schaffer and Dahlgren joined Ulrike Hartz (pentathlon) and Mykael Bothum (shot put) as champions on the women's side, while sophomore Jeremy Klas represented the men's team on the podium with pole vault gold.

Bothum, who had the nation's second-best shot put throw on Friday, was named WAC Field Performer of the Meet, as voted by the conference's coaches.

Freshman Kelly Jacka and sophomore Gabby Midles came away with silver medals on the day. Jacka ran a personal-best 24.59 in the women's 200m to earn the first WAC medal for an Idaho sprinter in the event, while Midles scored an upset with a huge personal-best toss of 17.83m (58-6) in the women's weight throw. Jacka, AshLee Rey, Schaffer and Lindsey Goodman added another silver in the women's 4x400m relay with a time of 3:47.93.

"Gabby was huge today in the weight throw for us, and then going second and fourth in the 200 meters was amazing, and then our 4x400 relay comes out knowing they needed to finish second just to have a chance to beat Utah State for second place in the meet and they do it with the fifth-fastest time in school history," Idaho co-head coach Yogi Teevens said.

Josh Dalton took second in the men's 800m at 1:53.74, while junior Eugenio Mannucci came away with a runner-up finish in the men's shot put after throwing 16.66m (54-8). Sophomore Princeton McCarty took third in the men's 60m dash with a time of 6.93.

"There were three guys who I thought really stood out this weekend, and they were Josh Dalton in the 800 and in the relays, and then Andrew Blaser and Mike Carpenter, who were just everywhere all weekend long," Phipps said.

Junior Paul Dittmer took second in the men's 60m hurdles with a time of 7.94, while senior Steve Potratz came in third in the men's mile at 4:17.26.

For most of the Idaho athletes, the indoor season has come to a close, but for the team's four NCAA provisional qualifiers, Jeremy Klas, Lucas Pope, Paul Dittmer and K.C. Dahlgren, and NCAA automatic qualifier, Mykael Bothum, there are two more weeks in the season.

A small group of Vandals will compete at next week's Husky Last Stand meet at Seattle, Wash., and at least Bothum will move on to the NCAA Championships in two weeks at Fayetteville, Ark.