San Antonio, Texas - Freshman Kirsten Trammell swam to third place and a bronze medal in the 400 individual medley, and the 400 medley relay finished third for San Jose State University in the final event of day three of the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship. The four-day meet comes to a close on Saturday, February 23, at the Palo Alto College Natatorium, with morning prelims in four events beginning at 9:00 a.m. PST. Seven finals will be contested starting at 4:30 p.m. PST.
The Spartans currently sit in fifth place with 312 points through 14 of 21 events. New Mexico State is just ahead with 329 points. Defending champion Nevada still leads with 499 points.
Trammell, a native of Goodyear, Ariz., swam 4:31.11 to improve her lifetime best mark of 4:31.20 from the morning session. The time ranks fifth on the San Jose State chart. Trammell thus earns her first WAC Championship medal alongside first-team All-WAC honors. She had already garnered second-team All-WAC recognition with a fourth-place showing in the 200 IM on Thursday night.
“I was a little disappointed in my time, but I felt like I had a really strong race, and that I raced hard in the morning and then in the evening, so I was happy with it overall,” remarked Trammell. “I hadn’t thought about (medals) until we got here and I realized that I had a chance of making the top three, which is what I really wanted. I was excited to get fourth last night and then third tonight.”
The 400 medley relay of junior Lauren Mar on the leadoff backstroke (58.24), freshman Caitlin Macky on breaststroke (1:04.18), junior Tarolyn Robertson on butterfly (57.56) and senior co-captain Brie Marhenke on the freestyle anchor (50.06), timed 3:50.04 to place third, coming from as far back as sixth at one point early on. Macky and Robertson’s were lifetime-best relay splits. The mark, a season best by 3.61 seconds, was just off the school record of 3:49.72, set at the 2003 WAC Championship, and ranks fourth all-time at San Jose State. All four swimmers pick up bronze medals and second-team All-WAC honors. Nevada won in 3:46.40, with Northern Arizona second in 3:48.44.
Trammell was joined in the championship final of the 400 IM by junior Beste Erener, who achieved second-team All-WAC distinction in her top event for the third year in a row, placing seventh in a time of 4:34.98. Nevada’s Summer Morgan-Halwas won in 4:24.22.
A pair of freshman San Diego products, Macky and Julia Koch, also earned second-team All-WAC honors for San Jose State on the night, with Macky producing a fifth-place effort in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:04.98, just .13 seconds off her best, and Koch placing sixth in the 200 freestyle in 1:53.18. Nevada’s Margaret Doolittle won the 100 breast in a time of 1:01.35 that stands out as the only NCAA automatic qualifying mark of this year’s meet thus far. Hawai’i swimmer Emma Berry took the 200 free in 1:48.08, an NCAA B’ cut.
“It’s been really exciting and a lot of fun, and I’m glad that the team has been here to back me up, support me and cheer for me,” said Koch. “I’ve worked really hard and I’m really proud of my times and what I’ve done. I’ve felt really good in the water and I’ve wanted to be successful.”
The final individual all-conference award for the Spartans on the night went to Robertson, out of Santee, Calif., who placed eighth in the 100 butterfly for second-team All-WAC honors. She improved on her best time of 57.41 from preliminaries to race 57.18 at night. Robertson duplicated her eighth-place finish in the same event from a year ago, but improved her time by over a full second (58.34 in the 2007 championship final).
A trio of Spartan veterans turned in exceptional individual consolation final performances, led by Mar, who raced a best-ever 57.42 to easily win the consolation final of the 100 backstroke. Her previous best was 57.72 from the 2006 WAC Championship.
Jillene Golez, one of three fourth-year seniors, led from start to finish to win the bonus consolation final of the 100 fly in impressive fashion in her final appearance in the event. She placed 17th overall. Golez’s season-best time of 57.98 fell just .06 seconds shy of her lifetime best from the 2005 WAC Championship.
Marhenke produced a season-best time of 57.55, improving over her 58.29 from the morning, to finish second in the consolation final and 10th overall in the 100 fly. She led for most of the way before narrowly getting edged out at the finish. In the same race, sophomore teammate Ally Jack went 58.75 for 14th overall. Freshman Rudie Guerrero timed 59.01 to take 16th in the first WAC Championship finals swim of her career.
Senior Amanda Carr (1:56.97), sophomore Erin Garcia (1:57.08) and freshman Ashley Krisman (1:59.08), also in her first WAC Championship evening swim, all competed in the bonus consolation final of the 200 freestyle and placed 21st, 22nd and 24th overall, respectively. Garcia’s time bettered her 1:57.18 from the morning.
In the bonus consolation final of the 100 back, junior Katey Nelson (1:00.15) and Guerrero (1:00.16) went 6-7 and placed 22nd and 23rd overall.
Jo Thibodaux, the Spartans’ freshman diver from Alvin, Texas, placed 15th on the three-meter springboard in the afternoon, her six dives collecting a score of 192.00 and earning two more points toward San Jose State’s team total.
“This morning we had a bit of a slow start, and missed some opportunities to get into the scoring positions that we should have this evening,” summarized San Jose State head coach Sage Hopkins. “Our performance this evening, however, was impressive to say the least. It was probably the best session of racing that we have had certainly since I’ve been at San Jose State, and probably the best session of swimming that we have ever had. Unfortunately, we were often doing it from the wrong heat.
“Highlights of the evening were Kirsten Trammell’s third-place effort in the 400 IM. We had a great 200 freestyle from Julia Koch, her second top-eight swim, as it was Trammell’s second top-eight swim as well, which is just tremendous for two freshmen. Tarolyn Robertson had a great 100 butterfly of 57.1. It was a tremendous swim for her. Caitlin Macky did a great job in the 100 breaststroke, placing in the top eight.
“We also had some outstanding efforts from a number of other people. Jillene Golez in the 100 fly, had a tremendous swim, going 57.9, the fastest swim she has had in four years. We had a great effort from Lauren Mar, with a lifetime best in the 100 backstroke, just a tremendous, tremendous swim. We had a great effort on the 400 medley relay this evening. It was one of the fastest relays in that event in San Jose State history. The highlight of that effort was Caitlin Macky’s 1:04.1 breaststroke split.
“We had just an extraordinary team effort this evening. A lot of teams have commented that we are the most spirited team, and certainly, that spirit and that camaraderie is showing in the pool when they are racing. It was just a great evening and we are excited to go in and race tomorrow morning. We’ve got New Mexico State 17 points ahead of us, and we are looking to really make a statement tomorrow morning and pass them tomorrow evening.
“We’ve also been excited to see the progress that Jo Thibodaux has made in the diving events. Her strongest event is tomorrow on platform, and we’re very excited for the prospects for her performance.”
Concluded Hopkins about the contributions he has received this week in general and on Friday in particular from his freshmen, “Our freshman class really has been tremendous, to say the least. Out of our five top-eight finalists (tonight), three were freshmen: Kirsten Trammell, Caitlin Macky and Julia Koch. Kirsten and Julia both have been top-eight in two events. Caitlin has been top-eight in one event and ninth in her other event. The freshman class has just been tremendous here (at the WAC meet).
“All three of those girls that I mentioned have stepped into some very pressure-packed situations, and done very well. Meghan McCurley is now a school record-holder as part of the 200 free relay. Caitlin Macky is a school record-holder as part of the 200 medley relay. They have just done a tremendous job this year, made tremendous improvements and really have maintained their composure in pressure-packed situations.”
San Jose State at 2008 WAC Championship
February 20-23, 2008
Team Scores (Through 14 of 21 events):
1. Nevada 499
2. Northern Arizona 433
3. Hawai’i 383
4. New Mexico State 329
5. San Jose State 312
6. Idaho 215
7. Boise State 164
8. University of San Diego 159
Results (Winners and Spartan student-athletes):
400 Individual Medley: 1. Summer Morgan-Halwas, NEV, 4:24.22; 3. Kirsten Trammell, SJSU, 4:31.11; 7. Beste Erener, SJSU, 4:34.98.
100 Butterfly: 1. Kim Kabesh, NEV, 55.11; 8. Tarolyn Robertson, SJSU, 57.18; 10. Brie Marhenke, SJSU, 57.55; 14. Ally Jack, SJSU, 58.75; 16. Rudie Guerrero, SJSU, 59.01; 17. Jillene Golez, SJSU, 57.98.
200 Freestyle: 1. Emma Berry, UH, 1:48.08; 6. Julia Koch, SJSU, 1:53.18; 21. Amanda Carr, SJSU, 1:56.97; 22. Erin Garcia, SJSU, 1:57.08; 24. Ashley Krisman, SJSU, 1:59.08.
100 Breaststroke: 1. Margaret Doolittle, NEV, 1:01.35; 5. Caitlin Macky, SJSU, 1:04.98.
100 Backstroke: 1. Jeanette Tour, NEV, 56.57; 9. Lauren Mar, SJSU, 57.42; 22. Katey Nelson, SJSU, 1:00.15; 23. Rudie Guerrero, SJSU, 1:00.16.
Three-Meter Diving: 1. Natalie Hughes, NAU, 317.85; 15. Jo Thibodaux, SJSU, 192.00.
400 Medley Relay: 1. Nevada, 3:46.40; 2. Northern Arizona, 3:48.44; 3. San Jose State (Lauren Mar, Caitlin Macky, Tarolyn Robertson, Brie Marhenke), 3:50.04.