Westmont Men’s and Women’s Track and Field returned from spring break and got back to work in the Santa Barbara sun on Saturday, when they hosted the Westmont Classic. On Saturday, the Warriors saw great success that included multiple Warriors reaching qualifying standards for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

The first Warriors to make headlines at the Westmont Classic was the men’s 4×800 meter relay team. In the first relay of the day, Jason Peterson, Jack Vanden Heuvel, Andres Leon, and Adam King posted a time of 7:36.59.

Last season, the men’s 4×800 finished in second place overall at Outdoor Nationals. Today, the men punched their ticket back to Gulf Shores, Alabama, after coming in well ahead of the automatic qualifying time of 7:44.0.

Also of note, the relay team set a stadium record, beating another Westmont team from 2019 that posted a time of 7:42.34.

“The 4×800 was awesome,” expressed Vanden Heuvel. “We put together a really strong squad, and it is impressive to see that we all pulled out a new personal record. That was one of our best races of the year, and I’m excited to have had the opportunity to compete against The Master’s.”

Later in the day, in the women’s 1500 meter race, a pair of Warriors came in a blink ahead of the NAIA provisional qualifying times. Running in the same heat, Anneline Breytenbach and Abigail Hundley finished ahead of the rest of the pack with times of 4:41.50 and 4:43.17, respectively.

The B-Standard mark that both women came in ahead of 4:43.50. For Breytenbach, it is the second qualifying time she has posted in as many weeks, following an A-Standard 5000 meter race last week in Virginia. For Hundley, it is her first qualifying time of outdoor season.

“I’m just so grateful to be back in Santa Barbara and competing on our home track,” offered Hundley, who earned All-American honors at Indoor Nationals. “It’s great to compete where we come down and train at each and every day after school.

“Essentially, I broke my race into three parts. I wanted to get in a good position for the first 300, hold that position through the next 800, and then give a good kick through the last 400. I went on mental autopilot down the stretch and just went for it.”

In the afternoon, Zola Sokhela made his weekly headline when he competed in the 800 meter in 1:50.81. Sokhela, the reigning NAIA Outdoor National Champion in the event, came in well ahead of the A-Standard to clinch the opportunity to defend his title.

Also running the 800 for the Warriors was Jack Vanden Heuvel, who came in an eyelash ahead of the B-Standard with a time of 1:53.79. Vanden Heuvel had no further time to spare, as the B-Standard for the event is 1:53.80.

“I knew Zola was going to do his thing and he did,” offered Vanden Heuvel. “My goal was to go out strong and stay with him. I knew he would qualify so I knew I just had to be a few strides behind him. Zola ran a really solid race and I’m excited for him. I’m excited to see what both of us can do later on this season.”

In the women’s 5000, Kari Anema became the second Warrior to automatically qualify for Outdoor Nationals in as many weeks, joining Breytenbach from last weekend. Today, Anema completed the race in 17:29.63, coming in a solid seven seconds ahead of the A-Standard.

The day came to a close with the men’s and women’s 4×400 meter per usual. For the women, Abbie Monk, Abigail Hundley, Jaiden Rodrigues, and Abby Rumohr came in well ahead of the pack with a time of 4:03.71, which was four seconds ahead of the second-place team. However, the time was not fast enough to reach a provisional time.

For the men, Jason Peterson, Vanden Heuvel, King, and Sokhela posted a time of 3:23.08, which was six seconds off of the NAIA provisional standard.

The Warriors return to action in the bay area next Friday, April 1, when they compete in the Stanford Invitational.