Broken records and Top-10 finishes are just a taste of what a talented freshman class has in store for the rest of the 2023 track and field season.
Indoor track meets are a good indicator about the upcoming outdoor seasons, and with back-to-back runs at University of Portland and George Fox University indoor meets, it was the first-year students who gave big hope to the 2023 season.
A Forest Grove native, Ally Hammond ran 8.09 seconds for the 60-meter dash at the George Fox meet, and placed fourth overall. In the outdoor season, she runs sprints for the Boxers, specializing in the 100 hurdles, 100-meter dash, and 200-meter dash.
“I spent a good thirty minutes visualizing how I’m going to look out of the blocks, and I think that helped on Sunday,” explained Hammond.
She also competed in the women’s 60-meter hurdles indoors, posting a time of 9.70 seconds and placing second overall at the George Fox meet. Fellow freshman Courtney Tiernan turned in a time of 10.97 seconds, good for ninth. Tierman will be competing in the heptathlon during the 2023 outdoor season.
In the field, Makayla Tuiolemotu, another freshman, competed and placed sixth in the women’s shot put with a distance of 10.36 meters. Tuiolemotu moved into the 7th spot on the top 10 list for indoor.
On the men’s side, a pair of freshman sprinters, Lucas Dahl and Josiah Chaffin, each posted top-three finishes at the George Fox meet in the men’s long jump; Dahl finishing third with a 6.45-meter jump, and Chaffin landing second-place with a leap of 6.50 meters.
“Honestly, I was just trying to jump over twenty feet or break my previous PR from high school,” said Chaffin. “But when I heard I jumped twenty-one feet, I was excited, and my coach gave me a high five.”
Dahl and Chaffin’s intrasquad rivalry will push both athletes throughout the 2023 season and the next three years.
Next up for the men’s and women’s Boxer track and field team is the final indoor meet at George Fox University on February 17. The outdoor season kicks off on Friday night, March 3, at Linfield University. The Boxers will look to qualify for the Northwest Conference Championships on April 21. — Bjorn Bergstrom and Nick Potts