Morton Crowned Champion, Felix Leads in First Day of WAC Championships

NAMPA, Idaho - The Boise State track and field team had a remarkable start to the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships meet on Thursday (Feb. 24) at the Jackson Indoor Track at the Idaho Center. Freshman Alexi Morton captured the first WAC pentathlon title in Boise State history, while also producing a school record in the five-event competition. Teammate Kurt Felix led the men's heptathlon after day one of the two-day seven-event competition, sitting 29-points ahead of his school and WAC record pace.

Morton, a true freshman out of Auburn, Wash., had a career day collecting lifetime-bests in all five events. Her total score of 3,769-points was a lifetime best, as well as a school record, shattering the former school record of 3,600-points shared by Megan Olivetti (2009) and Sally Vail (2002). Her total also currently places her 26th in the nation in the pentathlon. Morton began her day by improving her career-best time in the 60-meter hurdles by .03-seconds, running 8.89-seconds to place fourth in the event. She went on to place fourth in the high jump after clearing 5-5, her best by two-inches, while also tying her career-best in the shot put, throwing 34-0.75 to finish in sixth-place.

Morton's biggest push of the day came in the long jump when she shattered her career-best mark by 9.5-inches to win with a jump of 19-0. After gaining the lead in the overall competition after four events, Morton led Utah State's Chari Hawkins by only five-points heading into the final event. Finishing ahead of Hawkins in the 800-meters would guarantee Morton her first title. Morton did just that, running to a best time of 2:29.34, nearly seven-seconds faster than her previous best and finishing ahead of Hawkins. Morton finished fourth in the final race of the day while Hawkins placed sixth in the race and secured an overall second-place finish. Morton earns her first career WAC title as well as an All-WAC First Team honor.

On the men's side the Broncos were nearly as successful with Felix, a junior from St. Davids, Grenada, recording two career-bests in his first day of the heptathlon. He leads the overall competition with a total of 3,387-points. Felix captured first place finishes in all four events, recording career-bests in the 60-meters (7.10-seconds) and the high jump (7-1.50/2.17m). He also recorded marks of 23-8.25 in the long jump and 44-11.75 in the shot put.

Also competing for the Bronco men was Anthony Belcher, competing in his second heptathlon competition as a Bronco, as well as Nathan Justin Malashin and Nathan Balcirak who are participating in their first collegiate heptathlon competitions.

Belcher sits in fourth overall after earning or tying career-bests in all four events and a day-one total of 2,421-points. He placed second in the 60-meters (7.21-seconds), fourth in the long jump (20-5.75), fifth in the shot put (28-9.75) and fourth in the high jump (5-7.75) to round out his first day.

Malashin finished day-one of the heptathlon in sixth-place, totaling 2,239-points and earning lifetime-bests in all four events. He placed seventh in the 60-meters (7.84-seconds), third in the long jump (21-3.50), sixth in the shot put (28-1.75) and tied for fifth in the high jump (5-6.50).

Balcirak holds the seventh-place spot overall with 1,688-points and three career-best marks on the day. He placed fourth in the 60-meters (7.41-seconds), seventh in the long jump (19-3.50) and seventh in the shot put (27-3.75). He was unable to clear a height in the high jump.

Utah State's women garnered 11-total points in the pentathlon competition, good for the top spot in the team competition after day one of three in the WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Thanks to Morton's 10-points for winning the pentathlon, the Bronco women sit in second in the team competition, while New Mexico State and Nevada are tied for third with seven points each. Hawaii sits in fifth with four points.

No men's team points have been accumulated since the heptathlon spreads over two days and will finish Friday morning.

Friday's competition begins at 11 a.m. with the men's heptathlon 60-meter hurdles. Open event competition begins in the afternoon with the women's high jump at 1:30 p.m. in the field and the men's mile at 4 p.m. on the track. Saturday's events are slated for an 11 a.m. start in the field events while the track events will begin at 1:30 p.m.

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