By Anna Blue
Stanford junior Michael Atchoo set a new school and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) record in the mile to lead the Cardinal men’s track and field team to a fifth-place finish at the MPSF championships. The women finished fourth.
Atchoo’s time of 3:57.14 beat the indoor school record previously held by Olympian Michael Stember ‘00. Olympian Jeff Atkinson ‘86 holds the all-time record with a 3.55.16 run during the 1986 outdoor season.
“Michael is running with the assertiveness of one of the best guys in the country,” Stanford head coach Chris Miltenberg told GoStanford.com. “We’re preparing him to peak in the outdoor season, so we haven’t done a lot of speed work. Michael is doing all this stuff off strength.”
Cardinal senior Tyler Stutzman also turned in the No. 7 indoor time in Stanford history in the mile to give Stanford a 1-2 sweep in the event. Although Stutzman has battled injury to his knees in recent months, he was able to surge from last place early in the race to take second.
“The guy is extremely tough and competitive,” Miltenberg said of Stutzman. “Even though he was in the back, he kept his head in the race.”
In the 5,000-meter run, Erik Olson took second with a time of 13:55.66. The junior also took sixth in the 3,000-meter run. Freshman Justin Brinkley also earned fifth in the 800-meter run with a season-best of 1:51.22.
High-jumper Jules Sharpe and shot-putter Geoffrey Tabor fought off strong fields to earn third-place finishes at the meet. Sharpe jumped 2.21 meters while Tabor threw 17.68 meters.
“It was a tough field [of competitors], but my training has definitely paid off and will continue to pay off in outdoor,” Tabor said.
The Stanford women’s team had a few upsets and a few surprises. Junior Kori Carter, the defending champion in the 60-meter hurdle, was forced to surrender her title to Brea Buchanan of UCLA, after she finished in fifth place.
Katie Nelms, who holds the record for the second fastest indoor hurdle time in Stanford history behind Carter, finished third in the hurdles.
Carter has more success earlier in the meet when she recorded a dramatic first place finish in the 200-meter race. Carter and teammate Carissa Levingston repeated the 1-2 finish of Atchoo and Stutzman with their remarkable times of 23.63 and 24.24 seconds.
“The plan for both was to get out hard and maintain for 150. Stay strong, and pump your arms all the way through,” Stanford sprints and hurdles coach Jody Stewart told GoStanford.com. “I was confident Kori would do well. She’s very talented, she works hard, is consistent and she executes.”
The MPSF Championships also marked the highly anticipated return of seven-time All-American Kathy Kroeger in the 5,000 meter. Kroeger, for her first race this year, impressively finished second with a time of 16:00.29.
In addition, Stanford senior Jordan Merback and freshman Amy Weissenbach both earned runner-up finishes in the triple jump and the 800-meter race respectively.
The Cardinal also took second in the distance medley relay, making up for the men, who gave up an early lead to UCLA and finished fourth in the same event.
Stanford now has one final qualifier this Friday before turning its focus to the NCAA Championship on March 8 and 9.
Contact Anna Blue at ablue ‘at’ stanford.edu.