Double Medalists Lead Women On First Day Of Indoor Track
Western Oregon's Jenelle Hurley (left) and Western Washington's Aliyah Dawkins (right) each won two medals during Monday's competition. Photo by Loren Orr.
Western Oregon's Jenelle Hurley (left) and Western Washington's Aliyah Dawkins (right) each won two medals during Monday's competition. Photo by Loren Orr.

Monday, February 21, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Oregon’s Jenelle Hurley and Western Washington’s Aliyah Dawkins and Matty Lagerwey won medals in the women’s pentathlon, the opening event of the GNAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, for a combination of consistency and excellence across multiple disciplines.

While they showed their consistency with the pentathlon medals, all three showed their excellence elsewhere by earning second podiums in open events to highlight the women’s performances from the first day of the GNAC Indoor Championships at The Podium in Spokane, Washington.

Hurley opened the meet with a come-from-behind win over Dawkins in the pentathlon. It always seemed like it would be a race between the two, with Dawkins and Hurley going 1-2 in each of the first two legs, the 60-meter hurdles and the high jump. Lagerwey moved into contention with an event win in the shot put before Hurley closed the gap by winning the long jump with a mark of 18 feet, 3 inches, ahead of Dawkins’ second-place mark of 17 feet, 9 inches to take the showdown to the 800-meter finale. There, Hurley finished third with a time of 2:33.05 while Dawkins was eighth in 2:46.84, a 158-point swing that gave Hurley the lead and the win.

Hurley finished with 3,457 points, beating her own school record in the process. Dawkins finished second with 3,340 points, while Lagerwey did just enough to take third with 3,138 points, 10 points ahead of fourth-place Eden Mortensen of Saint Martin’s.

A couple of hours later, Dawkins took first place in the open high jump event, clearing 5 feet, 5 inches. The women’s high jump also featured a tie for second place, with Simon Fraser’s Sydney Kania and WWU’s Jessica Neal clearing 5 feet, 3 inches in the same number of attempts.

Western Washington finished the first day with the team lead with 70 points through six events, just ahead of the 61 points of second-place Western Oregon. Central Washington sits in third with 29 points.

The women’s long jump was won for the third consecutive year by Seattle Pacific’s Peace Igbonagwam, who bested the field by leaping 18 feet, 1 inch. Hurley and Lagerwey earned their second medals by finishing second at 17 feet, 11 inches and third at 17 feet, 8 inches, respectively. Central Washington’s Meagan Smallbeck left no doubt in the weight throw, routing the competition with a mark of 56 feet, 2 inches. That was nearly four feet ahead of second-place Moana Gianatti of Western Oregon, who threw 52 feet, 3 inches.

A pair of 15-second margins of victory defined the distance races. Seattle Pacific’s Annika Esvelt finished 15 seconds ahead of the closest finisher in the women’s 5K with a time of 17:31.71, and the Simon Fraser relay crew of Megan Roxby, Emily Lindsay, Emily Chilton and Allison Andrews-Paul dominated the women’s distance medley relay in a time of 12:13.12, ahead of Alaska Anchorage at 12:28.62 and Western Washington in 12:33.80.

Aside from the medal races, the other running events had preliminaries to set the finals that will take place during tomorrow’s action. Central Washington’s E’Lexis Hollis staked herself as the name to beat in a loaded women’s 60-meter field after finishing with the best preliminary time of 7.62 seconds, .01 seconds ahead of Simon Fraser’s Marie-Eloise Leclair. Leclair will also be the No. 1 qualifier in the women’s 200 after becoming the only runner to break 25 seconds with a time of 24.70.

Simon Fraser was banking No. 1 qualifiers in plenty of races aside from Leclair. Lindsay had the best preliminary time in the 400 at 56.77 seconds, while Diana Voloshin paced the field with an 8.80 second time in the 60 hurdles. The heavy favorite in the 800, Andrews-Paul, did enough to qualify with a third-place prelim time of 2:15.99, behind 2:15.85 from Cassidy Walchak-Sloan of Saint Martin’s and 2:15.86 from MSUB’s Kailee Stoppel, who furthered her own school record in the process.

On the women’s side, three field events will be contested tomorrow – the triple jump, pole vault and shot put, followed by finals in eight different running events. Competition will get started with the women’s triple jump at approximately 10:10 a.m. and will conclude with the awards ceremony at approximately 3:15 p.m.