Pilot track continues success outdoors

By The Beacon | April 19, 2012 9:00pm

Six Pilots post personal bests in the last two meets

Senior Jared Bassett (right) launches himself over a hurdle during the steeplechase event at the Willamette Invitational on March 31. The steeplechase combines endurance, sprinting and hurdles. Bassett hopes to qualify for the steeplechase Olympic trials taking place in Eugene this June. (Photo by John Kelly courtesy portlandpilots.com)

By Bruce Garlinghouse, Staff Writer -- garlingh13@up.edu

Competing in his first 5,000-meter race in a year, sophomore David Perry was paying close attention to his quarter mile time splits.

First it was 67 seconds, exactly the split he was shooting for.

But then it was 70 seconds and then 68 and another 68.

"It gets to a point that you've been hearing enough 68s or 400 times that aren't as fast as they need to be," Perry said.

That's when Perry decided he needed to "grab his stones and go."

His 13:58 time wasn't enough to grab a first place finish, but it was a new personal best and enough to put him in the class of 13 minute 5,000-meter guys.

"I wasn't as fit as I am now so breaking it was easy," he said. "But to beat it by more than 20 seconds isn't light and breaking that 14 minute barrier is something I have been looking forward to."

Perry is one of six Pilots on the men and women's track team to post personal bests in the last two weeks.

All four personal records on the men's side came in the 5,000-meter event. Sophomore Scott Fauble finished third in his section in 14:00.35. Senior Jared Bassett posted a 14:05.98, and junior Cody Wells and freshman William Kincaid posted times of 14:21.64 and 14:22.96 respectively.

On the women's side, sophomore Julia Fonk's time of 4:36.15 was the fastest in the seventh section of the 1,500-meter and freshman Laura Hottenrott-Freitag placed fourth in her section of the 5,000-meter, posting a time of 16:51.58, also a personal best.

A week later at the John Knight Twilight two Pilots posted overall top marks.

Junior Kiyah Williams edged out Oregon freshman Anetra Brown in a photo-finish. Williams crossed the line at 1:04.05 and Brown finished at 1:04.06.

Sophomore high-jumper Matter Winterer posted a jump of 1.93 m, topping the second highest jump by .05 m.

Bassett posted another personal best with a 3:50.8 in the 1,500 meter.

"I've been fortunate enough to PR a lot in the last couple of seasons so it would be weird not to PR," Bassett said.

Like many on the track team, Bassett also competes in cross country. But while track season is an unofficial training period for many of his teammates, to Bassett it is a chance to reach an Olympic goal.

Bassett is the only member of the team who competes in the steeplechase, which is a mix of endurance running, sprinting and hurdling.

This weekend at the Mount Sac Invitational in Walnut, Calif., Bassett will have an opportunity to qualify in the steeplechase for the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. in June.

"With the Olympic trials in Eugene it has totally been my incentive to get as good as I can in the steeple," he said.

Although it is one of his last opportunities to qualify, Bassett said he is making sure he doesn't put too much pressure on himself.

"You can definitely over-think a race," he said. "If you go into it worrying about time, you can focus too much on splits and you put the pressure on yourself in the middle of the race when you really should be focusing on running strong and focusing and running as efficient as you can."

The teams will split this weekend as some head to the Mount Sac Invitational today, and others will compete tomorrow in Eugene in the Oregon Relays.