For the second season in a row, Lane’s men and women have claimed the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ track titles.
The Titans wrapped up both titles at Spokane Community College on May 20.Lane women’s team won with a score of 241 points, while the men prevailed with 183 points. Both finished 22 points ahead of runner-up the community colleges of Spokane Sasquatch.
Lane freshman Dakarai Hightower was named Outstanding Male Field Athlete of the meet and Titans sophomore Kara Hallock scored the second-most points of any woman athlete. Lane head coach Grady O’Connor was named men’s coach of the year.
With eight of their athletes competing injured, Lane’s men had their backs against the wall going into the final day of the NWAACC championship.
However, the Titans received numerous strong performances late in the meet’s second day, and one record-breaking jump to help earn their second consecutive title.
The Titans trailed the Community Colleges of Spokane Sasquatch by two points after the first day of action and found themselves narrowly behind the Sasquatch, entering the second day’s final event, the triple jump.
Four Lane athletes finished second through fifth in the triple jump to earn a total of 23 points, while no Spokane athletes placed, leaving Lane victorious in one of the closest meets in recent memory.
“They exceeded expectations,” Lane head coach Grady O’Connor said. “That jumps crew really reveled in the pressure with their teammates on the fence line screaming at them. That was awesome that they answered the bell.”
Lane sophomore Alex Sattley led the Titans in the triple jump with a leap of 45’04.75″. He was followed by freshman Caleb Buzzas, sophomore Diego Gonzalez and freshman Kaelen Byrum.
“Caleb, who basically has a torn hamstring that’s literally black and blue, just wrapped his leg and was able to finish as an All-American,” O’Connor said.
The highlight of the meet for the Titans came in the high jump, where freshman Dakarai Hightower broke his own school record for the third time this season and set a personal best and NWAACC record with a jump of 7’3.25″.
“It was my first PR in a year or two. I almost forgot what it felt like,” Hightower said. “It was good to be back up there again, nationally ranked.”
On his final jump, Hightower narrowly missed clearing 7’5″.
In total, the Titans earned 84 total points in jump events.
Sophomore Zach Olivera claimed Lane’s only individual title of the first day with a win in the pole vault. Olivera cleared 15’11.75″ to earn his second consecutive title and was joined on the podium by fellow sophomores Connor White (fourth) and Erik Jorgensen (sixth).
Jorgensen’s day ended early when his pole snapped in half during an attempt, leaving him with a broken thumb and a laceration that required stitches.
Sophomore Sean McGetrick, last year’s 110-meter hurdle champion, finished second in the event this year, despite breaking the Lane record with a time of 14.37. McGetrick also finished second in the 400-meter hurdles.
Lane’s relay team already sprinted their way into the school record books once this season. Tuesday, they did so again and won a combined seven NWAACC titles to cap off a historical season.
Sophomores Jahzelle Ambus, Jalen Tims and Maculay Wilson, as well as freshman Kristine Dunn, teamed up to break the Lane 4×100 meter relay record with a time of 47.29 and captured the conference title. Each member of the relay team also won an individual title, and to finish off the meet, they won the 4×400-meter relay.
Ambus claimed both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash titles; Dunn won the 400 and placed third in the 200; Tims won the 400-meter hurdles and placed second in the 100; and Wilson won the 800-meter run.
“To have NWAACC titles in every event from the 800 down, I don’t think has ever been done,” O’Connor said. “It’s just a testament to those women — this sophomore class is going out with some huge accolades.”
Titans sophomore Kara Hallock won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.76 seconds to help Lane complete a sweep of all running events 800-meters and shorter. Hallock also placed third in the long jump, third in the 400-meter hurdles and fourth in the high jump. She scored 36 total points, including 10 from her April 29 heptathlon title.
Lane won eight total individual titles. Aside from Hallock and the Titans’ sprint group, sophomores Janelle Noga and Kristin Clark each won an event. Noga cleared 11’09.25″ to capture the pole vault title, and four other Titans vaulters finished on the podium. Clark was victorious in the triple jump and also finished second in the long jump.
Sophomore Madison Seaman placed second in the discus and third in the shot put, and sophomore Leah Wilson and freshman Simone Reynolds placed second in the javelin the pick up points in the throwing events.
Freshman Nicole Maurmann finished second in the 1,500-meter run, and freshman Katy Potter took fourth in the 5,000-meter run to lead a Lane distance crew that scored 19 points, after scoring none at last year’s meet.
“Most of this sophomore class hasn’t experienced anything but victory,” O’Connor said. “This team wasn’t as top-heavy as last year’s — last year’s was ridiculous. This year’s team had a little more depth in all of the events.”