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Stanford Track and Field: Indoor Season Off to A Strong Start

Indoor track season has begun for the Cardinal

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday mark the opening day for Stanford’s men’s and women’s indoor track seasons, and they picked up right where they left off at the end of their stellar respective fall cross country seasons.

Both teams entered this season ranked within the top 25 in the nation, with the men in 10th and the women sitting at 23rd. Those predictions have last year’s No. 8 men falling back 2 spots, and last year’s women dropping 7 spots, from 16th. Despite the polls not looking in the Cardinal’s favor, when it came down to the physical sport itself, Stanford proved that none of those preseason surveys matter.

The combined team took 6 individual titles at the UW Indoor Preview out in Seattle this past weekend, competing against both collegiate and professional runners.

Albeit the highlights from the day actually came by way of the 2nd place finishes by junior Olivia Baker and junior Harrison Williams, two returning staples of the program.

Baker, last spring’s NCAA silver medalist in the 800m, set a new school record of 1:28.22s in the 600m, improving on her previous best by 0.86s.

I just ran 1:30.66s in a meet last Saturday… and I can confirm for you that Baker’s time is certainly quite fast to say the least. Racing such an unorthodox event that attempts to bridge the 400m and 800m events onto a condensed 200m track, Baker deserves all of the credit she has received and more for her record-setting performance.

Decathlete Harrison Williams, who nearly qualified for the Olympic Trials last summer and stands as a 2-time top-5 NCAA finisher, pole vaulted a 5-inch personal best of 17’ 8.5”, moving him into 3rd on Stanford’s all-time indoor list.

Additionally, he placed 5th in the long jump with a 22’ 3”, and 6th in the 60m high hurdles (8.36s).

Returning to the Cardinal’s first overall finishers, Jackson Shumway won the men’s 400m in 47.93s while junior Gaby Gayles took the women’s in 55.96s. Senior Jaak Uddmae (he is from Estonia) grabbed the men’s triple jump win in 50’ 3.25”. Junior Rachel Reichenbach won the women’s high jump with a 5’7” leap, and then senior Valarie Allman won the 20lb weight throw in 59’ 8.5”.

Finishing off the meet was the Cardinal’s final first place: the men’s 4*400m relay. Anchored by 400m champ Jackson Shumway, he managed to gain a lead on the final turn and went on to bring it home for Stanford in 3:15.26s.

Other positive showings came from freshman Isaac Cortes, who finished second in the 1000m (2:24.05s) only to 2-time NCAA indoor champ and Nike sponsored runner Eric Jenkins, and Vanessa Fraser, who posted a personal best in the mile of 4:42.47s.

The Cardinal’s next showing will be on Saturday, the 28th, with certain athletes heading to the Penn State National Meet and others returning to Seattle for the University of Washington Invitational.

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