MONMOUTH — Despite being pelted with intermittent rain showers throughout the day, the Western Oregon University track and field team picked up six individual titles while hosting the John Knight Twilight on Friday.
In the 400-meters race, senior Olivia Woods and Gabe Arce-Torres nabbed first, and junior Justin Crosswhite swept the men’s 1,500-meters race. Junior Hunter Mosman set a career-best in the men’s steeplechase.
On the field, sophomore Darian Wilson took a title for the javelin, and sophomore Moana Gianotti plucked one up for the discus.
Woods led a one-three-four Wolves finish for the 400, finishing in 58.13. Teammates Grayson Burke, a junior, and freshman Bethanie Altamirano clocked in at 59.09 and 1:00.23, respectively.
As athletes warmed up for their race, the sky opened and let out a torrent of rain.
“It was odd that, as we were putting on our spikes, it was like the downpour monsoon when we were in the tent, so coming out and just trying to focus, like, ‘it’s just weather, it’s just going be windy in everyone’s face,’ so that was my biggest obstacle of getting ready for the race,” said Woods. “I thought (the race) went pretty well overall. I think the biggest thing is not letting (weather) affect your mentality as you warm up, because if you tell yourself, ‘this is going be a bad race because it’s so wet and cold,’ and then it’s going to be a bad race because you told yourself it’s going to be a bad race, so I think it can affect you if you let it.”
Altamirano, a former Central High School track star who nabbed a state title in the 400 her junior year, had a handful of her old teammates and former coach, Eli Cirino, cheering for her on the sidelines during her race. Afterward, they gathered around and congratulated her.
“(The race) went pretty good,” Altamirano said. “I felt good running with my teammates, to know where I’m at, because I work out with them too, so it’s really nice.”
Altamirano said going from being an athlete in high school to competing at the collegiate level has been a big transition.
“In high school, we get breaks between cross-country and track, and I’ve been training since August and I haven’t really had a break, so it’s a lot different,” she said. “The workouts are different too. It definitely has made me stronger. I’ve gotten in better shape than I was in my senior year (in high school).”
For the rest of the season, Altamirano says she wants to “get stronger in my 400, and to stay more confident in my race, because I have trouble with going past the 200 meters, and just knowing that I am fast enough.”
In the men’s 400, Arce-Torres toured the track in just 49.38.
Crosswhite led a one-two-three sweep in the 1,500, crossing the line at 3:53.42, followed by teammates Hunter Hutton, at 3:54.40 and Tyler Jones, at 3:55,82.
In the steeplechase, Mosman scraped off more than 10 seconds to take the victory in 9:29.41.
On the field, Gianotti landed a title in the discus with a 14-18 for the women’s side, and scored a lifetime best in the hammer throw at 145-7.
Wilson unleashed a 138-3 in the javelin, taking the title by more than 4 feet.
On the men’s side, Sam Cole flung career-bests in the shot put, 47-11 1/4, and hammer, 164-11.
On Saturday, a handful of Wolves traveled to McMinnville for the Jenn Boyman Meet, while others went to Forest Grove for the Pacific Luau Meet.