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Track and field shatters records at MPSF championships

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In a weekend of unparalleled success this season, Stanford track and field produced several record-shattering results at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships in Seattle, Washington, on Friday and Saturday. 

Competing at the University of Washington’s Dempsey Indoor 307-meter flat track, the men’s team placed ninth, while the Cardinal women tied for fifth with 54 points, extending their streak of top-five finishes to 17 years. 

“This was our best overall team performance,” said head coach J.J. Clark after the meet.

For the second time this season, junior Ashlan Best broke the school record in the women’s 400 meters. Two weeks after setting the school record record of 53.02 on a 200-meter banked track, Best shattered her own record with a 52.64 to finish third on Saturday. With that performance, she is in contention for a bid to the NCAA championships in two weeks. 

In the women’s mile, Ella Donaghu led a Cardinal sweep of the top three spots. The senior crossed in 4:34.85 to win the race, followed by junior Jess Lawson in second at 4:36.06 and junior Jordan Oakes third at 4:37.69. Senior Christina Aragon finished sixth with a time of 4:41.43 to round out Stanford’s scorers in the event. Half of the 54 points for the women’s team came from this singular race. 

Donaghu became the second Stanford athlete in the last three years to win the women’s mile at the conference championships, and 11th in program history. Twelve-time All-American Elise Cranny ’18 accomplished the same feat in 2018 when she edged Oregon’s Jessica Hull for the win, recording the current school record of 4:31.29.

Oakes, who set a personal best in the mile in Saturday’s race, leapt to No. 10 on Stanford’s all-time indoor list. Donaghu and Lawson remained at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively. 

On the men’s side, four freshmen — Max McKhann, Dorien Simon, Matt Rizo and Sam Liokumovich — had notable performances over the weekend.

McKhann threw the 35-pound weight 20.07 meters on his fifth throw to finish third on Friday. For the third time in the last four meets, he set a new personal best, improving his previous high of 19.59 meters. McKhann strengthened his hold of the No. 5 distance in program history.

Simon broke his own freshman record in the 60-meters prelims on Friday by 0.01. He ran a personal-best 6.80 and tied the late Tyrone McGraw for second in program history. 

In the men’s mile, Rizo clocked a personal-best 4:02.09, recording the fastest mile by a Stanford true freshman in 22 years. Rizo moved to No. 2 on Stanford’s freshman all-time performers’ list, behind Gabe Jennings’ 3:59.32 set in 1998.

Liokumovich threw the shot put 16.80 meters to move to No. 10 in program history on Saturday.

Senior Julian Body placed third in the 400 meters with a personal-best 47.18. The time maintains his spot at No. 8 all-time in Stanford indoor history. In the 60-meter hurdles, he ran 8.04 to place fifth.

“Good marks came from so many different areas,” Clark said. 

The top 16 individuals and top 12 relays will advance to the national championships at the University of New Mexico on March 13-14. The list of qualifiers will be announced on Tuesday. 

Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Alejandro Salinas '21 is a Senior Staff Writer after serving as the Managing Editor of Sports for two volumes. Hailing from Pasadena, CA, he studies computer science and biology as a junior. In his free time he enjoys running, playing with dogs and watching sports. Contact him at asalinas 'at' stanford.edu.