The battle for the Western Athletic Conference Championship is still very much up for grabs after the first day of action in San Antonio, TX. The Wyoming men have a narrow 4-point lead on North Dakota, and just 10 points separate the top four squads. For the women, Northern Arizona is up three on Idaho and only seven points separate Northern Arizona from third place New Mexico State.
The UNLV men kicked things off in the 200 medley relay with a new WAC record time of 1:25.33. The team of Henrique Machado, David Szele, Dillon Virva and Gui Passos touched nearly two seconds ahead of Grand Canyon University (1:27.31). GCU’s Michael Branning put down a big time 50 free split of 18.84, and will hope to carry that momentum into the 50 tomorrow. UND would take third in 1:27.46.
The women’s 200 medley relay would see a shootout between GCU and University of Idaho. The GCU women out-touched Idaho in 1:40.44, with Idaho following in 1:40.93. GCU was trailing at the final exchange, but freshman Jovanna Koens put down a clutch 22.81 to overtake the Vandals and give GCU the title. New Mexico State rounded out third place in 1:41.49.
The University of Wyoming Cowboy quartet of Adam Kalms, Ryan O’Leary, Ryan Nelson and Ethan Griffel took home top honors in the men’s 800 free relay edging out UNLV by just under two-tenths. UW senior Ethan Griffel stepped up to the plate and put down a split of 1:33.33 to make an epic comeback for the Cowboys after trailing UNLV by nearly two seconds at the final exchange. UW’s time of 6:24.21 would be good enough for a new WAC record and UNLV wasn’t far behind in 6:24.40.
Finishing off the night, the Cal State Bakersfield team of Michaela Paige, Paola Hernandez, Kelsey Lange and Delise Batiza took home the women’s 800 free relay crown in 7:16.08, handily defeating second runner-up GCU (7:22.72) and third place NAU (7:24.66).
After a very close relay session, this year’s WAC Championship promises to be a fight to the last race on Saturday. Both the men’s and women’s championship is still in close contention, and the drama is poised to keep growing down in San Antonio.
North Dakota: 102
Air Force: 100
Northern Arizona: 107
New Mexico State: 100
Northern Colorado: 71
North Dakota: 58
Day two prelims begin Thursday at 10:00 AM with finals slated to start at 6:00 PM. Live results can be found here.