Western’s Mindy Kaufman qualifies for nationals

Western’s Mindy Kaufman qualifies for nationals

SPOKANE, Wash. — Records fell and history was made for the University Montana Western track team at the Northwest Scoring Clash (WAR XII) as Mindy Kaufman became the first Bulldog to qualify for nationals in more than 30 years.

In less than ideal conditions at the Spokane Falls Community College track, senior Mindy Kaufman didn’t let the rain faze her as she ran a personal best and set a school record in the 5000 meters (17:44.81). Kaufman’s time hit the NAIA “B” standard and qualifies her for the NAIA national championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. at the end of May.

She finished third overall in the event but was the first collegiate finisher as two unattached runners crossed just a few seconds ahead of her.

“It was a pretty special meet for the Bulldogs,” head coach Dylan Zizter said. “Mindy had an amazing 5K, she has really made strides with her fitness since cross country.”

Kaufman followed that performance with another personal best in the 1500 meters, running a fast 4:55.11.

Sophomore Eireann O’Connor set a couple of records of her own. She became the first woman at Montana Western to compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 12:40.46. She also set a school record in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:54.35.

“Eireann had a great meet,” Zitzer said.

Gabi Gomez and Emma Adams both ran personal bests in the 5000 meters. Gomez finished at 18:50.76 while Adams’ time was 20:27.37.

It the men’s 5000 meters freshman Matt Wilson ran a 16:14.29 in his 5000-meter debut. Senior Tanner Lehr finished with a time of 16:17.71.

Russell Kujala finished in 2:04.32 to lead the Bulldogs in the 800 meters. Freshmen Jonathan Harrison and Jake Jessop ran personal bests. Harrison finished in 2:10.19. While Jessop finished with a time of 2:15.15.

Kujala’s time of 4:14.27 led the 1500 meters with Josh Jessop finishing in 4:17.56 and Harrison crossing the line in 4:24.82

“We had some encouraging results for the men. But we need to get back to work.”

The Bulldogs will be back in action on April 13 when they head to Missoula, Mont. to run in the Montana Open. The first event the Bulldogs will run in will take place at 12:05 p.m.

— Montana Western Sports Information



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