Outdoor Track Competes in First Scored Meet

April 5, 2006

By Pete Cushman
SCU Outdoor Track

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--A small contingent of Santa Clara track athletes traveled to Fresno State this past weekend to compete in the Cal/Nevada Championships, their lone scored meet of the 2006 season. Despite the tough competition, the thinclads excelled and broke both personal and school records.

Freshman Anna Wheatley improved her own school record in the 800 meters for the third time this season, just one week after setting a new 400-meter school best. Wheatley jostled for a clean position early in the preliminary race, and looked uncomfortable towards the back of the pack as the race approached 300 meters. As the leaders charged through the bell lap, Wheatley sat in the back with a small gap separating her. Not until the race approached the final turn did Wheatley throw herself into possible final contention with a lethal late kick. Wheatley capitalized on her opportunity in the final, crossing the line in sixth place overall capturing a personal and school best of 2:16.52. Her effort earned the Broncos four points in the meet. Wheatley also competed in the 1500-meter event. She missed out on the finals in the metric mile by one spot after posting a personal best of 4:52.38.

"We weren't really thinking she had a chance at the finals until about the time she crossed the line," said head coach Tom Service. "She looked like she was out of contention, but was able to dig deep and open up on the final straight. But most importantly, she looked great in the finals facing off against some great competition."

On the men's side, Sophomore Chris Furnari used a tactically smart effort in the prelims to earn a spot on the starting line of the finals in the men's 800-meter race. Furnari was seeded in the final heat of the preliminary rounds, and needed to better 1:56.72 to guarantee advancement. He led the chase pack charge after the bell lap, and managed to reel in the leaders after 600 meters. He latched onto the back of the top two runners and cruised in under the time needed to move on. His 1:55.32 improved his previous personal and school best by about .6 seconds. The finals of the event went out at a blistering pace, with Furnari holding onto the pack. He split 55 seconds at the bell. His overall effort earned him ninth place overall, and added one point to the Bronco point total.

"Chris ran a very intelligent race to advance to the finals," said Service. "It was nice to see him have such a confident demeanor and confident attitude in his abilities against some great runners."

Sophomore Chris Gumbs and Mike Delaurenti also contributed to the Bronco points. Gumbs managed to earn a point for the Broncos with his ninth place finish in the 5,000-meter finals. Gumbs took a stab at improving on his personal best, but faded slightly over the last three laps. His time of 15:24.05 marks his second best time ever at the 5k distance.

Delaurenti grabbed four points to the Bronco team total with his Division I debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Delaurenti is the only Bronco to compete in the event during the schools short two year track team existence. He ran 9:34.92 in the event, good enough for sixth place overall.

"Mike has shown in the last couple of weeks in practice that he is a natural steeplechaser," said assistant coach Felipe Montoro. "I am very pleased with his effort, and as he continues to work at it, I think we can expect him to improve a ton over the course of the season as well as his career."

The Broncos return to competition as a full team at the Johnny Mathis Invitational at San Francisco State University on Saturday April, 8th.