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Baker takes 800-meter, qualifies for NCAAs at MPSF Championships
Junior Olivia Baker (right) won the 800-meter race at the MPSF Indoor Championships to secure herself a spot at the NCAA finals. The Cardinal took third place overall at the meet in Seattle this weekend (ANDREW VILLA/stanfordphoto.com).

Baker takes 800-meter, qualifies for NCAAs at MPSF Championships

After winning the women’s 800-meter at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships last year, junior Olivia Baker repeated her feat on Saturday in Seattle to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Baker’s standout performance was accompanied by senior Valarie Allman, who shattered her own Stanford record in the 20-pound weight throw on Friday to place third at 68-5 3/4 (20.87 meters) and narrowly missed the mark for NCAA Championships qualification; the men’s 4×400 relay squad, which set a school record of 3:09.80 to net second place; and junior Tristen Newman, who threw the longest shot put toss by a Stanford thrower in 22 years at 60-7 1/4 (18.47 meters) to tie the school’s No. 3 all-time throw.

While Baker’s win was Stanford’s only first-place finish, the women’s team scored 57 points to notch third place overall while the Cardinal men recorded 27.5 points to earn 12th.

Friday’s events were highlighted by the women’s distance medley relay team of senior Vanessa Fraser, junior Gaby Gayles, senior Malika Waschmann and junior Elise Cranny, who ran a season-best 10:59.82, good enough for second.

Complementing the men’s 4×400 team of junior Frank Kurtz, junior Harrison Williams, junior Isaiah Brandt-Sims and fifth-year senior Jackson Shumway on Saturday was the women’s 4×400 second-place result. Sophomore Missy Mongiovi, Gayles and junior Michaela Crunkleton Wilson were anchored by Baker with a 52.7 split for a season-best 3:36.26.

“I couldn’t be prouder of both relay efforts,” sprinters and hurdlers coach Gabe Sanders said. “We put together one of the best combined relay performances in program history.”

First-year throws coach Zeb Sion was also happy with his players’ performances, commending Newman in particular for his hard work in practice.

“He’s built off the progress of the last few years and created a really positive environment,” Sion said.

In addition to his spectacular shot put showing on Saturday, Newman placed fifth in the men’s 35-pound weight throw at 62-6 1/2 (19.06 meters) the previous day.

Junior Lena Giger put herself in position for a shot at the last spot in NCAA qualifying with a personal-best 54-8 3/4 (16.68 meters) in the shot put at the Seattle Pacific Last Chance Meet. The toss advanced her to No. 4 on the Stanford indoor list and No. 5 on the school absolute list.

Giger would join the Cardinal’s other apparent qualifiers in the men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams, Fraser and Cranny in the women’s 3,000, senior Jack Keelan in the men’s 3,000 and Williams in the men’s heptathlon.

Stanford next travels to across the Bay for the Cal Opener on Saturday before making its way to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA Championships on March 10-11.

 

Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Tristan Vanech

Tristan Vanech is a sports managing editor and former news desk editor on the campus life beat. A Symbolic Systems major from Venice, CA, Tristan loves playing basketball and football. His most notable accomplishment at The Daily is leading its flag football team as quarterback to break a three-year drought in the annual Ink Bowl against the Daily Cal. Ball is life. Email him at tvanech@stanford.edu.