Making their mark: 8 Thunderbirds qualify for Western Regional track and field championship meet

Southern Utah University's Astley Davis outjumped the rest the triple jump field at the Western Athletic Conference track and field championships May 13, 2023. Davis' winning jump measured 52 feet, 10.75 inches (16.12 meters) | Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Eight track and field athletes from Southern Utah University will continue to compete a little bit longer this season.

They are national qualifiers, and as such have earned the right to compete May 24-27 at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Western Regional Championships in Sacramento, California.

“These are some of the best athletes in the NCAA,” Thunderbirds coach Eric Houle said in a news release. “It’s going to be fun watching them represent Southern Utah University at the first round of the national championships.”

SUU’s qualifiers are as follows (distances are in meters; qualifying marks also included):

  • Haley Tanne (Anderson) – 3,000 steeplechase; 10:10.69
  • Jentry Skidmore – long jump; 20 feet, 4 inches
  • Ajia Hughes – high jump; 5 feet, 9 inches
  • Cedar English – long jump; 25 feet, 4.25 inches
  • Astley Davis – triple jump; 52 feet, 10.75 inches
  • Hayden Harward – 3,000 steeplechase; 8:43.96
  • Jaedyn Carpenter – 400; 46.30
  • Santiago Gaitan – 1,500; 3:44.01

Not only did these athletes qualify for the Western Regional meet, they several of them captured gold at the Western Athletic Conference championship meet May 11-13 in Nacogdoches, Texas. The men finished runners-up to Grand Canyon University, while the woman placed eighth as New Mexico State took the team title.

Southern Utah University’s Jentry Skidmore sails to a winning long jump at the Western Athletic Conference track and field championships May 12, 2023. Skidmore, whose winning mark was 20 feet, 4 inches (6.20 meters) qualified for nationals in the event | Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics, St. George News

“It was an awesome weekend for both the men’s and women’s teams,” Houle said of the WAC championships. “Improving on their preseason poll. A lot of school records, PRs, conference champions and all-conference athletes made this weekend  a complete success.”

Hayward won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:43.96, establishing an all-time Thunderbird best, as did Davis in the triple jump, going 52 feet, 10.75 inches.

The men’s 4X400m relay team of  Dylan Gibson, Nelson Douglas, Nick Pembroke and Carpenter capped off the meet by winning in an impressive time of 3 minutes, 8.20 seconds.

On the women’s side, Skidmore reigned supreme, winning the long jump in 20 feet, 4 inches.

Click here for the schedule for Western Regionals.

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