Nate Jewkes and Hayden Hawks headlined the men's performances with season-best times of 14:21.83 and 14:37.93 in the 5k. The finishes were far superior to their previous season bests of 14:47.03 and 15:11.24, respectively, ran earlier in the year. Jewkes crossed the finish line with a seventh-place finish, but was the second collegiate runner across the line. Southern Utah now has a total of six athletes with qualifying marks in the 5k this season.
Dylan Marx added his name to SUU qualifiers in the steeplechase, running a season-best 9:11.60 in the event to finish fifth. The time was almost 10 seconds faster than his previous season best.
In the field events, Russell Nielson improved on his qualifying mark in the javelin, throwing a mark of 192 feet 11 inches and eclipsing his previous season best of 187 feet 1 inch. The performance put the sophomore in second place, missing the top spot of the podium by one foot, a mark of 193-11 thrown by Benjamin Brown (unattached). Neilson also improved on his season-best mark in the discus with a toss of 143 feet (43.58m), but came up short of the Big Sky qualifying mark of 48.00m in the event.
On the women's side, Paige Cardiff and Aubrey Bryson punched their tickets to the championship with qualifying times in the 800-meters. Both ran season-best times of 2:12.39 and 2:13.09, respectively, to give SUU three qualifiers in the event at next week's championship.
Ashley Hawks improved upon her qualifying time in the 1,500-meters, crossing the finish line as the first collegiate in the event with a third-place 4:28.88 time in section 1.
Andrea Martinez also improved her 400-meter time on the track, dropping her season best from 1:07.01 to 58.78 on Saturday. Despite the improvement the time fell short of the Big Sky qualifying standard of 56.70.
Autumn Lawrence encountered a similar situation in the triple jump, bounding to a new season-best 35 feet 10.5 inches (10.93m). The mark was almost 18 inches greater than her previous best, but was shy of the Big Sky qualifying standard of 11.50 meters.
Southern Utah will now turn its attention to the conference championships next weekend in Flagstaff, Ariz. The Thunderbirds will have 25 qualifiers on the men's side and 23 qualifiers on the women's side when the championship begins on Wednesday.