WAC TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Hawaii wins over WAC with handling of meet
UH Athletic Director Herman Frazier would like to host championship events more often
Sitting in the Cooke Field bleachers for the Western Athletic Conference track and field championships, Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier fondly recalled his days as a collegiate athlete blazing around the track.
"It's many, many moons ago, but I was a three-time WAC champion in the 400 meters," said Frazier, who captained Arizona State to the 1977 national championship. "So it brought back some memories.
"I just stayed up in the stands and watched it as a spectator. It was good to be at home and see this kind of competition."
UH hosted the WAC outdoor championships last week and Frazier hopes to draw more championship events to the Manoa campus in future years, and would like to see the school host other collegiate track meets.
"I'm going to talk to (UH associate AD) Carl Clapp and (track and field coach Carmyn James) and we should probably start putting together and hosting some kind of invitational meet every year," he said as the WAC meet wrapped up. "Maybe it could be bringing other colleges here, but we have to do something, some kind of big meet. I think it's important.
"Next season might be too early, but before it's all over we'll come up with something."
He said the athletic department will likely look into submitting bids to host the WAC baseball, softball and volleyball tournaments in the future as well.
Other tournament sites, such as track and field, are rotated on a yearly basis. UH hosted the WAC tennis championship last year and golf in 2003.
"I think it's important to host these events to give our kids an opportunity to compete at home," he said.
"We weren't able to host (the WAC track championships) before because we didn't have the facility. But at least now we have something that's comparable and this track stands the test of time."
James was also pleased with how the four-day WAC championships went, crediting meet director Mark Zeug and UH assistant AD Teri Chang and the athletic department staff for keeping the meet running smoothly.
"I'm really, really proud of our people and how well they put on a first-class track and field competition," James said.
"I'm getting all kinds of positive feedback from the other coaches. The officials, who paid their own airfare to get here from the mainland, they said, 'Call us any time, we'll come back for any other future meets that you have.' To get that support from officials from Texas, California, Washington, that's huge.
"A few coaches suggested we put in a permanent bid to host the WAC on an annual basis. But I don't think the ADs will go for that because of the cost involved."
Louisiana Tech coach Gary Stanley, whose women's team won the WAC title, had concerns about the logistics of bringing his team from Ruston, La., to Honolulu. But he was impressed with how the meet was run.
"They put on a first-class meet," he said. "I think all the coaches were very happy. Obviously it's expensive, but it's a good thing. For our kids, it's something they probably wouldn't experience in their lives."
James said UH has hosted college teams during the regular season in the past -- UCLA made the trip for the Rainbow Relays in 2003 and Texas the following year -- but the cost involved made it difficult to bring in more than one team for a meet.
"It's not that we're not capable of doing it, it's a matter of the other teams saving up the money so they can make the trip out," she said.
"I've always felt this is the place to hold international competitions since we're smack dab in the middle of the Pacific."
Weaver honored: UH sophomore Meghan Weaver was named the outstanding athlete of the year at the Rainbow Wahine track and field team's banquet Saturday night.
Weaver is the first UH athlete to qualify for the NCAA regionals in three events -- hammer, shot put and discus.
Other awards went to Tiara Krismunando (most improved), Chantelle Laan (most sportsmanlike), Emily Sheppard (freshman of the year), and Annett Wichmann (most inspirational).
Back for more: Although his first year as a UH assistant wasn't quite done, Gerry Lindgren was already looking forward to next season.
"We hope to do better next year, we hope to get some good recruits and get a better program going for the ones that are here already," he said. "I'm planning on putting everybody through a lot of miles during the summer so we can start fresh in the fall."
Lindgren, a renowned distance runner and USA Track and Field hall-of-famer, joined the Hawaii staff this season and ended the WAC meet by watching Laan establish a personal best in the 5,000 meters with a time of 18:13.96 on Saturday.