HUMBLE, Texas — After Day 1 of the Great West Conference Championships on Friday at Turner Stadium, the Utah Valley University women's track and field team built a 39-point advantage over Texas-Pan American, while the men's team held a narrow 12-point lead over Cal State Bakersfield.
Saturday, both teams widened the gap and are well-positioned heading into Sunday's final day to wrap up their unprecedented fifth consecutive championships.
The Wolverine women (142) now lead by 94 points over second-place Texas-Pan American (48), while Houston Baptist is third with 43 points and Chicago State is fourth with 16 points.
On the men's side, the Wolverines (121) lead by 52 points over Texas-Pan American (69), while Cal State Bakersfield is in third with 46 points and NJIT is in fourth with 40.
"If we'll just compete Sunday we'll be in great shape," UVU track and field coach Scott Houle said.
Saturday, Michael McPherson set a new school record in winning the long jump with a mark of 24-07.00, and Brooke Hodson-Davies is now second all-time in the 3000 women's steeplechase after posting the winning time of 10:30.51.
"As a team, we're competing pretty close to where we thought we would do," Houle said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see more kids hit PRs Sunday. It's starting to roll and the kids are starting to feel more confident."
With the help of Hodson-Davies and four other Wolverines scoring points in the 3000 steeplechase, the Wolverines began putting more distance between them and the rest of the field. In all, the Wolverines took the top four spots. Behind Hodson, Ally Deeter placed second (11:01.40), followed by Harley Murray (11:06.44) and Jessica Wilding (11:30.44).
The UVU women also placed four in the top five in the heptathlon led by winner Lexi Esplin (4,567), followed by Ali Shields (4,188), Gately Garnett (4.125) and Autumn Robertson (3,749), who placed second, third and fifth, respectively.
Esplin also led three Wolverines to place in the top seven in the long jump with a mark of 18-05.25, which was good for fourth. Mykah Heaton (18-05.00) and Aimee Wheeler (17-09.75) placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
The Wolverine men captured the first four spots in the pole vault with Marcus Pratt leading the pack with a first-place vault of 14-03.25, followed in order by Levi Ball (J14-03.25), Riley O'Neal (J14.03.25) and Stephen Wickhamshire (13-03.50).
Also on Saturday, Chris Dorton (9:30.34) and Nelson Orton (10:04.78) placed second and fifth, respectively, in the 3000 men's steeplechase, and Wickhamshire placed eighth (39-00.25) in the shot put.
The Wolverine women's team climbed to the early lead Friday by taking the first four spots in the 10000 meters behind winner Krystal Harper (37:39.46), followed by Wilding (38.01.32), Bridget Hazel (38:06.23) and Angela Blackham (38.3013) to earn 29 points.
Maryn Pincock (145-02) and Chelsey Stegelmeier (142-03) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the women's hammer throw, while on Saturday Pincock (45-07) won the women's shot put and teammate Rachel Garrett (38-01.25) placed fifth.
For the men, the Wolverines took five of the top eight spots in the 10000 meters behind a first-place finish by Joshua McCabe (33:12.29) followed by Macy Butterfield (33:17.38), Brenden Emery (33:50.38), Logan Wood (34:00.89) and Orton (35:12.21) who placed third, fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively.
Field events on the final day of competition on Sunday get underway at 9 a.m. (MT) with the women's high jump, women's pole vault, men's discus and men's triple jump. Track events get underway at 11 a.m. (MT) with the men's 4x100 relay.
Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.