On Sunday afternoon, the University of Portland hosted its first full indoor track meet since the mid-1990s, according to men’s track and field head coach Rob Conner. The Portland Pilots posted personal bests and came away victorious in several races.
The meet — which was split into two days, with day one being hosted by George Fox University — was the first of three that will be hosted by UP. The second will take place on Feb. 9 and the third on Feb. 23.
“I feel like everybody did a great job, especially with this being our first home meet in a long time and first meet since having the track redone. ” women’s head coach Ian Solof said. “Considering that I think it was definitely a success.”
Indoor tracks are different than the standard outdoor track. Most indoor tracks are around 200 meters while outdoor tracks are 400. Those lengths still vary, with the refurbished track at the Chiles Center measured at 240 meters around. For reference, the track at the University of Washington Invitational to start the season was 307 meters. Regardless, the strategy doesn’t change.
“It’s more just kind of getting familiar with the track,” Solof said. “That’s a big part of it is just getting used to the layout and having a sense of where the finish line is, but it doesn’t change the strategy. The basics of racing still apply.”
That home track advantage came in handy. Portland had four winners combined between the men’s and women’s team as well as 26 personal records across all runners.
Senior Maya Murphy-Cook was a highlight for the women’s team as she won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.87 seconds, a personal record. Sophomore Grace Oswin won the 800-meter race with a time of 2:19.30, freshman McKenna Smith took second in the 3,000-meter (10:12.38) and sophomore Tara Fuiten’s 59.70 time in the 400-meter dash was the eighth-best time in school history.
The men’s team dominated the distance races, earning the top five times in the 3000-meter and the top four times in the mile. Thomas Salas claimed first in the 3,000 with a time of 8:34.74 while Henry Chapman’s time of 4:13.82 was good for first in the mile.
With this meet being the first for most of the runners this year, Conner and Solof were proud of how their teams performed.
“So far, so good,” Conner said. “Happy with how the track held up, happy about everybody’s efforts and I think it’s a really good place to build on.”
While the meet was a successful one for their runners, the meet was just as successful from an organizational perspective in the eyes of both Conner and Solof, showing that the Chiles Center can be an option for future meets.
“I was extremely happy with the organization of the meet, the structure that we provided,” Conner said. “We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from the competitors and the coaches. This gets us established as a viable option for indoor track and I think you’ll see more people coming and coming and coming.”
Kyle Garcia is the Sports editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.