Nevada looks toward WAC finals

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RENO -- With Three weeks remaining before the Western Athletic Conference indoor track and field championships, University of Nevada coach Curt Kraft has two goals in mind. The first is to see team improvement. The second is to see that improvement translate into a team championship at the WAC finals.

There was improvement Saturday when Jamila Carter logged first-place finishes in the 55- and 200-meter dashes to help Nevada run away an 11-team field during the Wolf Pack Invitational on the Bill Cosby Track at the Reno Livestock Events Center. The Wolf Pack scored 194.5 points to capture the women's team title, followed by Cal with 116.

Since winning the Big West Conference championship in 2000, the Nevada has finished in the top three four times in the WAC indoor and outdoor championships. Last year, the Wolf Pack finished second behind Rice at the indoor finals in Reno and then finished third at the outdoor finals.

"I'm tired of coming in second," Kraft said. "Our goal is the same every year. We want to win this thing. We're physically gifted, but like I told the girls, we've got to be mentally tough.

"As strong as our league is, it's not going to be easy. Staying in the top two or three is not going to be easy. But like the old saying goes, if it's easy, it ain't worth a damn."

The Wolf Pack is definitely looking toward the WAC Championships on Feb. 27-March 1 in Boise.

"Everybody in this league is so close, the team that wins it is going to be the team that improves the most these next three weeks," Kraft said. "Yes, I thought we improved today. We really had some kids step up to the plate. Is it good enough (to win WAC)? No, it's not. We need to keep on improving. It's not how you start that matters, it's how you finish."

Carter won the women's 55 in 7.11 seconds and later sped to victory in the 200 (25.05). Teammate Shante Winters also placed third in the 55 (7.13) and second in the 200 (25.17) to give the Wolf Pack 34 points in those two races.

Nicole McRae and Galena High product Julie Hinton also ran first and second in the 800 with respective times of 2:11.15 and 2:121.55. Erin Kelly won the triple jump (40-0) and placed second in the high jump (5-5-3/4).

Another highlight was supplied by Stephanie Tietjen, a Hug High graduate who placed third in the shot put with a school record throw of 49-1-1/2. Janine Bodo, a Galena High graduate, placed second in the weight throw and Dana Huseby was second in the pole vault.

Notes ... In the men's competition, Galena High senior Nate Meckley competed unattached and cleared 6-6 to place seventh. ... Robert Linkul, a Carson City resident who competes for Sacramento State, threw the weight a non-placing 53-6-1/2. ... Neal McIntyre, a standout for both Fernley High and the University of Nevada in the 1970s, posted a time of 6.90 in the men's 55-meter dash. ... Fresno State edged Cal by a 111-106 score to win the men's team title. ... Nevada hosts the Bill Cosby Invitational next Saturday at the Reno Livestock Events Center.


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