At an array of conference meets, Alaskans showed up in numbers, with Tristian Merchant, Terrel Johnson, Cody Nye, and Adarra Hagelund collecting individual titles, while UAA snagged three GNAC titles.
Anchorage’s Tristian Merchant made a statement in his debut 10,000-meter race at the ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships, winning in a meet record time of 29 minutes, 26.15 seconds — a pace of 4:44 per mile.
The Liberty sophomore was gutsy, surging to the lead with 2 miles remaining in the 6.2-mile race. But attune to his strengths, the move paid off, with Merchant breaking the tape and running the sixth-best time in program history and becoming the eighth-best performer among Alaskans.
But Merchant was only halfway done.
The former ACS star returned on day two to put contribute more points to the team standings, collecting a fourth-place finish in the 5,000, running 14:26.77 and leading three other teammates into the top eight.
With the abundance of points, the Flames ignited, exploding past day one leader, Kennesaw State. In their final showing in the ASUN conference, Liberty swept the men’s and women’s team titles, with the men collecting their 16th consecutive outdoor track and field title.
Like Merchant, Anchorage’s Santiago Gomez-Prosser competed in identical events at the Big Sky Conference Championships.
The Northern Arizona sophomore scored big points in the 10,000 (29:58.90), finishing runner-up — his highest showing at a conference meet. Gomez-Prosser returned the following day to add a fifth-place finish in the 5,000 (14:29.62) to put four Lumberjacks in the top six.
At the RMAC Championships, Fairbanks’ Terrel Johnson conquered the decathlon field to secure his first individual title.
The CSU-Pueblo senior got off to an impressive start on day one, winning the 100 (11.26), long jump (22 feet, 4.25 inches), and high jump (6 feet, 4.25 inches), while running a personal best in 400 (50.43) for second, and placing sixth in the shot put (35 feet, 4 inches).
Johnson came into day two as a current leader, extending his lead with the help of another pair of wins in the 110 hurdles (15.41) and javelin (151 feet, 0 inches), along with personal bests in the pole vault (13 feet, 3.5 inches) and 1,500 (4:46.50), and a sixth-place showing in the discus (105 feet, 1 inch).
After winning five out of the ten events, Johnson had amassed 6,756 points to win by 431 points over the runner-up and finish just 38 points shy of his collegiate best. The Thunderwolf currently ranks 17th among NCAA Division II decathletes this season.
Teammate Kaleb Beloy of Anchorage ran to a personal best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:30.80). The CSU-Pueblo sophomore placed sixth, slicing 17 seconds from his previous time.
Eagle River’s Jeremiah Wilson zoomed to a wind-legal lifetime best in the 100 (10.84) to place 10th. The Colorado Mesa junior also competed in the 200 (22.34), finishing 19th.
Anchorage’s Brady Burrough placed 10th in the 1500 (4:00.89) after running a nearly identical time in the preliminary round. The Fort Lewis sophomore has been consistent in the event this season, running between 3:59-4:02 in all five of his competitions.
Making his first appearance at the outdoor RMAC Championships was Anchorage’s Sebastian Sweda Mittelstadt. The Westminster (Utah) junior ran a leg on his team’s eighth-place 4×400 relay and finished 13thin the steeplechase (10:02.60). Sweda Mittelstadt also added a lifetime best in the 800 (1:57.50), closing out his season at the BYU Cougar Invitational.
Soldotna’s Cody Nye saved his best for the UMAC Championships.
The Minnesota-Morris junior appeared on the podium for all three events he contested, including becoming a three-time UMAC champion in the shot put, with a throw of 47 feet, 5.25 inches. Nye claimed the title indoors earlier this season and in the 2021 outdoor season.
In the hammer throw, Nye hurled the 16-pound metal ball affixed to a wire to 147 feet, 0 inches — over 4.5 feet further than his previous best. The mark earned the SoHi standout a third-place showing, which he followed up in the discus (127 feet, 5 inches) with another personal best and bronze medal.
Nye took a few more throws at the Eagle Open to secure a personal best in the shot put (52 feet, 6.75 inches), which ranks him 21st among NCAA Division III athletes this season.
Teammate Lauren Parsons of Anchorage competed in the quadruple throws for the third time this season. The Minnesota-Morris freshman placed seventh in the javelin (102 feet, 1 inch), while adding top 20 finishes in the hammer throw (80 feet, 10 inches), shot put (25 feet, 10.75 inches), and discus (76 feet, 9 inches).
At the NSAA Championships, Soldotna’s Adarra Hagelund had a stellar showing, collecting her first conference title and a third-place showing in the heptathlon.
The Dickinson State freshman soared to the win in the high jump, clearing a height of 5 feet, 5 inches. Her current best (5 feet, 5.25 inches), set at the NDSU Tune-Up, is tied for 10th among NAIA athletes this season.
In her debut heptathlon, Hagelund amassed 3,064 points while winning the high jump and finishing runner-up in four of the seven events. The Blue Hawks were able to capture their sixth straight NSAA outdoor track and field title, scoring a whopping 300 points over runner-up team Viterbo’s 180 points.
Teammate Dylan Dahlgren of Soldotna also appeared on the podium, collecting a runner-up finish in the hammer throw (172 feet, 7 inches), a personal best by over seven feet. The Dickinson State freshman added a fifth-place showing in the shot put (44 feet, 11.75 inches) and placed 12th in the discus (117 feet, 8 inches).
At the CCC Conference Championships, Juneau’s James Connally had himself a weekend.
The Eastern Oregon freshman competed with some of the best, scoring in all five events he contested.
While typically known for his short sprints, Connally made his collegiate debut in the 400 with an exclamation point. The Mountaineer sped to a time of 49.13 seconds, which ranks fifth in program history and is tied for sixth among Alaskans.
The Former Juneau-Douglas standout also zoomed to a pair of eight-place showings, recording wind-aided times in the 100 (10.80) and 200 (21.71), in addition to running a leg on the third-place 4×100 and seventh-place 4×400.
At the Northwest Conference Championships, a quintet of Alaskans covered seven events.
Juneau’s Anna Iverson led the contingent with an eighth-place showing in her debut at 10,000 meters (39:55.18). The Pacific Lutheran junior also added lifetime best in the 5,000 (19:09.28), finishing 11th.
North Pole’s Breeauna O’Rear, a junior at George Fox, placed sixth in the heptathlon (3,718 points), while junior teammate Marina Carroll of Homer placed ninth in the high jump (4 feet, 10.25 inches).
Kenai’s Kaitlyn Johnson, a two-sport athlete and senior at George Fox, finished seventh in the discus (122 feet, 8 inches) and 10th in the hammer throw (124 feet, 4 inches), helping the Bruins secure the team title with 257 points.
Anchorage’s Jordan Hayes contributed to Linfield’s runner-up finish in the 4×400, leading off on the four-lap relay.
At the GNAC Championships, Palmer’s Sophie Wright capped off a strong season with a pair of top-five finishes.
The Western Washington sophomore qualified for the 800 final with the second-quickest time in the preliminary (2:14.02), and would go on to finish fourth in a strategic final which included a drastic negative split. The field came through the first lap in 71 seconds, with Wright closing in 66 seconds to finish in 2:17.92.
In the 1500, Wright was joined by two of her teammates as they sat behind the early leader. While the eventual winner pulled away, Wright hung on for fifth (4:41.23), helping the Vikings put three in the top five and secure their first women’s outdoor team title.
Galena’s Kaleb Korta contributed points toward the men’s title by placing fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:25.92). The Western Washington senior closed out his final race for the Vikings with an 11th-place finish in the 5,000 (15:37.86) in sweltering conditions.
In his first outdoor GNAC Championships, Wasilla’s Cort Sandefur added a few points in the discus (129 feet, 10 inches). The MSU-Billings freshman launched the hammer to a personal best (129 feet, 11 inches) for 10th and added an 11th-place in the shot put (41 feet, 5.75 inches).
UAA was well-represented by the 49th state, with over 10 athletes competing in various events.
Haines’ Avery Williamson ran to a personal best of 11:56.89 in the steeplechase to place tenth, while Palmer’s Sofija Spaić finished 13th (12:17.44).
Sitka’s Joei Vidad placed eighth in the 400 (59.16), followed by Anchorage’s Kaitlyn Backman in 12th(59.89). Backman was joined in the 4×100 relay by Fairbanks’ Essence Slate, Anchorage’s Mikayla Mader, and Idaho’s Jayden Glaze, placed sixth. The 4×400 relay also included Backman, Anchorage’s Sophia Cvancara, Spain’s Blanca De Arvizu Sarrias, and Germany’s Leonie Flad, placing seventh.
Slate, a Lathrop High standout, added an 11th-place showing in the long jump (17 feet, 0.5 inches), while Fairbanks’ Bailey Roe and Soldotna’s Jordan Strausbaugh finished 15th and 16th in the 800.
Anchorage’s Jacob Belanger teamed with California’s Tim Hunter and Collin Sample, along with Germany’s Joshua Wagner to secure a third-place finish in the 4×100 relay.
Wagner came back to earn UAA’s first title of the meet by defending his title in the 110-meter hurdles (14.58). Colombia’s Kevin Angarita stormed to victory in the 400 (47.59), while Jamaica’s Enrique Campbell followed suit in the 100 (10.51). A day prior, Campbell reset the program record, running 10.46 seconds.
Other notable outdoor track and field performances from Alaskans:
- Fairbanks’ Camron Herron raced to a 10th-place finish at the Big 12 Championships. The Texas junior competed in the 800 (1:48.39), running his third-quickest time.
- Anchorage’s Lucy Young ran to a personal best at the CAA Championships. The William & Mary sophomore placed seventh in the steeplechase (11:11.24), improving by nearly three seconds.
- Anchorage’s Clare Howard scored two personal bests at the SAA Championships. The Millsaps junior placed seventh in her 10,000 debut (42:28.44) and 10th in the 5,000 (19:44.24), improving by over 19 seconds.
- Soldotna’s Erika Arthur equaled her personal best at the Frontier Conference Championships. The Carroll (Mont.) sophomore finished third in the steeplechase (12:32.48) and 13th in the 5,000 (20:50.70).
- Palmer’s Tucker Christiansen also competed in two events at the Frontier Conference Championships. The Montana Tech sophomore finished fifth in the 400 (51.66) and ran a leg on his team’s runner-up 4×100 relay.
- Eagle River’s Logan Mathieu ran to a lifetime best at the Summit League Championships. The North Dakota State sophomore finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.57), his best with a wind-legal recording, in addition to running a leg on his team’s fifth-place 4×100 relay.
- Homer’s Audrey Rosencrans closed out her career at PacWest Championships and West Coast Last Chance Meet. The Academy of Art senior placed eighth in the steeplechase (11:36.46) and competed well in the 5,000 (17:47.64).
- Two Rivers’ Riley Knott competed in two events at the Pac-12 Championships. The Cal-Berkeley sophomore placed fifth in the high jump (6 feet, 9 inches) and 11th in the javelin (159 feet, 8 inches).
- Anchorage’s Ethan Davis competed at the Patriot League Championships. The Lehigh junior ran a leg on his team’s 4×800 relay, which placed sixth.