Fort Lewis College junior Katie Fankhouser highlighted the track and field team’s efforts with a record-breaking performance in the mile on Saturday at the two-day University of New Mexico Team Open.
Fankhouser turned in a second-place time of 4:59.53, finishing just behind UNM's lead runner (4:59.35). The cross-country All-American's time also set a new school record, previously held by Erin Renner‘s 5:27.20 indoor mile time at the UNM Classic in 2018. In addition, Fankhouser's time reached an NCAA provisional mark and is currently the 14th-fastest mile time in NCAA Division II.
“In her first race of the year and her first indoor track meet ever, Katie proved that she is going to turn more heads going into outdoor by laying down the 14th-ranked indoor mile time in Division II,” head coach Shawn Jakubowski said. “She led all but the last five meters of the race in a competitive field. Typically, the first meet of the year is used as a rust buster, but Katie had other plans today and picked up right where she left off in cross-country.”
Also running in the mile, Sophia Mena finished 10th in 5:31.05, while Marisol Castilleja (5:36.77), Mikenna Hoffman (5:47.34), Skylar Charlie (5:48.53), Candence Corby (5:52.02) and Celine Nez (6:08.92) weren’t far behind.
In the 3000-meter race, Carmella Wright was the team's top finisher with an 11th place mark in 11:05.03 – 16 seconds faster than her seed time heading into the race.
Three Skyhawks toed the line in the 800, paced by a 23rd-place finish from Claire Peterson (2:29.90).
“This was an incredible season opener for the women, and they picked up right where they left off from in the fall and all the winter training,” Jakubowski said. “More than half of them walked away with new personal bests.”
On the men’s team, six student-athletes ran in the 800. Aaron Busche (1:57.55) and Conner Dossman (1:57.76) led the way with seventh and eighth-place finishes.
In the mile, Dossman's time of 4:29.40 was good enough for 15th place. Elijah Smith (4:33.64) wasn’t far behind.
Finishing 10th in the 3,000 to lead Fort Lews’ charge was Ethan Bartlett (8:55.01). Smith followed at 9:02.32, and both Max Robinson (9:05.41) and Henry Nelson (9:13.94) were close behind.
“It was a great day for the Fort Lewis men today on the track,” Jakubowksi said. “Overall, they far exceeded the expectations of the first meet and showed up ready to race this weekend.”
The teams’ next race is the Dr. Dan Caprioglio Early Bird on March 17 at the CSU Pueblo Thunderbowl, to start the outdoor season.
“This meet was a great opportunity for both teams to get experience racing indoors,” Jakubowski said. “For many of them, this race was their first indoor meet ever, so getting them that indoor experience will be very beneficial for next year when we have a full indoor season.”