Senior Ben Armel finally found the race he has been looking for.

He took first in the 800-meter with a season-best and regional qualifying mark in the Cal-Nevada Championships this weekend in Fresno. Junior Scott McConville, normally a 1,500 runner, blasted from the back of the pack to finish second behind Armel.

“Armel is an example of how an athlete reacts to a tough situation, rising up to take over,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “He came back from the dark side to put on a performance.”

Junior 800 runner Tetlo Emmen ran the 400 in a time of 48.65, earning him a spot in sixth place. Sophomore Micah Tyhurst continued to improve this season with a nine-second PR from last year, finishing the 1,500 in 3:54.18. Senior Alex Cardiasmenos followed closely, taking third.

“I’m happy with the way things turned out,” Tyhurst said. “It’s a PR and it’s not my normal race so it makes it that much better.”

Smashing his PR and earning a regional mark of 206 feet, baseball-player-turned-field-star junior Gabe Mann finished second in the javelin throw.

“Gabe is such a long shot, switching sports, fitting in, learning everything, then competing at the highest level. It’s great to see him excel,” Dolan said.

Sophomore Bethany Nickless finished a strong second in the 1,500 with a PR and conference-qualifying time of 4:34.13. Senior Rebecca Zamolo challenged herself in the 5,000 and came just one second away from a conference-qualifying time.

“It was bittersweet, a four-second PR, but one second away,” Zamolo said. “It was a challenge because the race went out faster than I’m used to so I had to adjust a lot.”

After a tough week of preparation for the field events, senior Rachel Elbinger came back from injury to set a new PR and qualified for conference in the high jump. Her 5’4″ jump tied her for seventh, while fellow Gaucho sophomore Devon Tracy took third in the event. Junior Heather Quinn wowed teammates with a hammer throw of 171 feet, a new personal best and seventh best in the finals.

The two-day trials and finals meet served as great preparation for the conference meet in three weeks. The fact that the Gauchos can compete well and improve over the course of a meet is a big confidence boost and learning experience going into the Big West Championships.

“We got a lot done we needed to do,” Dolan said. “We’re building up the momentum for the big races to come.”