VU Track and Field close to postseason form after busy split weekend


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The number of National qualifiers continues to rise for the Vincennes University Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams as the Blazers had another good weekend at two separate meets.

The distance runners for the VU Trailblazers headed up north earlier this week to take part in the GVSU Extra Weekend meet at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich Thursday evening.

The men’s distance crew was led by sophomore Isaac Stanford (Flora, Ill.) who headed a group of VU runners in the 800 meters with a time of 1:53.22, good for fourth overall.

Sophomore Matthew Gray (Washington, Ind.) and freshman Tanner Spence (Carmi, Ill.) ran a tight race, finishing neck and neck with Gray placing 27th with a time of 1:59.14 and Spence ending with a time of 1:59.22 for 28th place.

Freshman Max Pendley (French Lick, Ind.) rounded out the VU runners in the 800 meters with a time of 2:12.43 and a 45th place finish overall.

Freshman Brahym Sakka (Tunisia) had a big day in the 1500 meters, placing second in his heat with a time of 3:57.58 for 27th overall.

Freshman Bryaun Manuel (East St. Louis, Ill.) joined Sakka in the 1500, finishing with a time of 4:17.29 in 64th place.

Freshman Cody Noel (Hebron, Ind.) took on the 5000 meter race, finishing with a time of 16:01.12 in 59th overall.

The VU men’s distance crew Thursday was closed out by freshmen Caden Hostetler (LaGrange, Ind.) and Nathan Whitehead (Vincennes, Ind.) competing in the 3000 meter steeplechase.

Hostetler led the way with a 17th place finish with a time of 10:08.83 and Whitehead ended at 10:34.99 in 24th.

The VU women’s distance runners were led Thursday by freshman Adi Fuller (Evansville, Ind.) who took home 20th in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 11:45.67.

Freshmen Emilly Barbosa (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Grayson Haynes (Sebree, Ky.) competed in the 1500 meter race, with Barbosa winning her heat with a time of 4:50.95 to take 24th, while Haynes posted a time of 5:30.64 in 63rd overall.

Freshman Jasmyn Self (Casey, Ill.) closed out the VU results at Grand Valley State, winning her heat of the 800 meters with a time of 2:31.49 to take home 45th place overall.

“After a six hour drive, Grayson got things started with an 11 second PR in the 1500,” VU Assistant Track and Field and Distance Coach Tyler Steigenga said. “Bryaun improved by the same amount, running 4:17 in his heat.”

“In the 800, Jasmyn led most of her heat and had a big kick in the last 150 meters to win with a new PR of 2:31,” Steigenga added. “Matthew and Tanner ran in the same heat of the 800 and both ran a one second PR to finally break the two-minute barrier for the first time despite a slow first lap.”

“In the steeplechase, Adi, Caden and Nathan all improved on the PRs they set last week,” Steigenga said. “Adi also moved up to 10th in the NJCAA with her time.”

“The fast sections of the 800 and 1500 took place after the steeple, Isaac ran a good race in the 800 to take fourth, just a half second off his PR,” Steigenga added. “Emilly ran a season’s best in her heat of the 1500. She ran a smart race and had a great kick in the last 150 to take the win in her heat and improve on her national qualifying standard.”

“Brahym closed out the night with his second National Qualifier of the season,” Steigenga said. “He ran his best race of the season and took second place. He also moved to eighth overall on the VU All-Time list.”

“This was an awesome meet experience as eleven of the thirteen runners ran a PR or season’s best,” Steigenga added. “We also came away with three new National Qualifiers and five overall. It was a long trip but well worth it. I have so many good things I could say about the way we competed. We really stepped up when we needed to and are looking solid with three weeks to go until Nationals.”

The rest of the VU Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams had to wait until Saturday before they headed up to Indiana State University for the 2024 Sycamore Open.