Jan. 17, 2009


Courtesy of Idaho State

Pocatello, ID --- Sydney Wendt posted Big Sky Conference Indoor qualifying marks in the high jump and triple jump, and four other Bengal women qualified for the conference meet as well to lead the Bengals to a 3-2 record at the Bengal Shootout on Friday night at Holt Arena.
The meet was scored using head-to-head results between all the teams instead of a traditional standings method. Idaho State earned wins over Montana State-Billings (106-22), Southern Utah (90-54) and Cal State Northridge (79-63) and narrowly lost to Weber State (73-71) and BYU (92.5-58.5).

Wendt took second in the high jump with a mark of 5-06.00, and she also claimed silver in the triple jump with a mark of 37-01.75. With the announcement that 2008 indoor pentathlon champion Cassie Merkley will miss the indoor season with an injury, it's that much more important for Wendt to score points.

"There's more pressure," Wendt said. "I think I will have a lot of expectations, but there are also a lot of other multi-event athletes on the team that will step up. I've been practicing the high jump all season, but I wasn't expecting the triple jump, because I haven't even practiced it."

One of the other athletes who will be expected to shoulder some of the load is senior Ashley Turner, who finished third in the 60-meter hurdles with a Big Sky qualifying time of 8.97 seconds. Turner also just missed qualifying in the 200-meter dash (6th, 26.04 seconds) and the long jump (4th, 17-02.75).

"Ashley did a really good job tonight," Bengals head track and field coach Dave Nielsen said. "Sydney has been a star her whole career, but Ashley has certainly come around this season, and we expect really big things from her."

Along with Wendt and Turner, Amanda Vink-Johnston qualified for Big Sky competition in the triple jump, taking fourth with a leap of 34-06.25. Carrie Talbot placed second in the shot put with a toss of 43-05.00, and Kylee Gleason's pole vault of 12-00.00 was also good for second place.

Erica Wendt also had a strong day, taking fifth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:41.64 and placing 10th in the 1-mile run with a time of 5:13.25. Senior Trinelle McKinley was fifth in the 400-meter dash (59.17 seconds) and seventh in the 200-meter dash (26.05 seconds). Vink-Johnston tied for fourth in the high jump with a mark of 5-04.25, and senior Nicole Yurek tied for fifth in the pole vault (11-00.25).

"There were some strong teams here," Nielsen said. "BYU didn't come with their whole front line, but they have an awesome team. There was great competition here. Overall we had a lot of fun and it was a great start to the season."

The Bengals are back in action on Jan. 30 at the Montana State Duals in Bozeman, Mont.