NWC championship meet preview, schedule

LUTES HOST CONFERENCE MEET: Pacific Lutheran University will host the 2003 Northwest Conference Track & Field Championships this Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26. The meet starts with four field event finals at 2 p.m. on Friday, with the first event on the track, the women's

100-meter hurdles preliminaries, scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday's competition gets underway with five field event finals at 10:30 a.m. Track events, all finals, start at noon with the women's 400-meter relay. The meet is scheduled to conclude at 4 p.m. Saturday with the awards ceremony. (See the complete meet schedule at the bottom of this release.)

DEFENDING CHAMPION: The Willamette men blew away the competition in 2002, winning the championship by nearly 90 points. Willamette scored 254 points to 165.5 for runner-up Linfield and 141.5 for third-place Pacific Lutheran. On the women's side, Willamette's win was nearly as impressive as the Bearcats scored 225 points to 141 for runner-up Pacific Lutheran, 138 for third-place Whitworth and 132 for four-place George Fox.

2003 MEN'S MEET NOTES: Willamette athletes rank first in 10 of the 20 events to be held this Friday and Saturday. As if that weren't enough to recommend the Bearcats as the 2003 favorite, their depth is shown in the most recent Northwest Conference top eight rankings. In two events, Willamette has five athletes ranked, and in six more they have at least three in the top eight. The Bearcats’ primary dominance comes in the distance events where Bearcat athletes are ranked first in the
3000-meter steeplechase, 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, and where they make up a significant portion of the top eight. Willamette already has the lead in the 2003 Northwest Conference meet following the multi-event championships held April 14-15 at the University of Puget Sound. Tyler
May scored 6,231 points, 40 points less than last year's total, to
successfully defend the title he won in 2002. Calvin Keyser-Allen
finished fourth to give Willamette 15 team points. Whitworth has 12 team
points from four decathletes, including Jordan Patterson, who finished third with 5,832 points. Linfield is in third place with eight points from Jesse Fipps, who was second in the decathlon with 6,158 points. Puget Sound has four points following a fifth-place finish in the
decathlon by Greg Gause.

2003 WOMEN'S MEET NOTES: The women's competition figures to be more open. Willamette has four individual event leaders entering the
conference meet, so the Bearcats’ depth will be a crucial factor. They
are particularly strong in the 800 through the 5000 meters, including
four of the top eight in the 800, and the top two in both the 1500- and
5000-meter runs. Whitworth and George Fox figure to give the Bearcats the biggest challenge. Whitworth has six event leaders coming into the meet, including Kristen Shields in both short sprints. George Fox has four event leaders. The Bruins’ leader is Joellen Boatright, the Outstanding Female Athlete in the 2002 meet, who leads the conference in the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump and the long jump. Linfield has three event leaders, including Joni Claypool in the shot put and discus. Linfield comes into this weekend's competition with the team lead
following a 1-2 finish by Leah Moore and Lindsey Larson in the conference multi-event meet. Moore scored 4,428 points to win the heptathlon, followed by Larson with 4,125 points. Whitworth, with Jessica Austin finishing fourth to lead a trio of Pirates in the top eight, is in
second place with nine points. Willamette's Jazzmin Reece earned her team six team points, placing third in the heptathlon with 4,001 points. Lewis & Clark has four team points, followed by Puget Sound with two points.

RETURNING CHAMPIONS: There are seven defending individual event
champions returning in the 2003 men’s meet. In addition to Tyler May,
who successfully defended his decathlon title, Willamette has Toby Dean in the 110-meter hurdles and Nate Matlock in the shot put. The sprint competition should be hot with Whitworth's Ben Rorem back in the 100 and George Fox's Ben Salisbury returning in the 200. A pair of Linfield
athletes, Dayson Tiogangco in the pole vault and Ray Lions in the
javelin, will attempt to defend their titles. Lions was named the 2002
Outstanding Male Athlete. The women's meet has 13 returning event champions, including four from Willamette. Alicia Andrews won the
800-meter crown in 2002 and comes into the meet with this year's best
time. Kari Holbert will attempt to defend her title in the 3,000-meter
steeplechase, as will Nancy Weyler in both the shot put and discus.
Joellen Boatright from George Fox will attempt to defend her titles in
the 100-meter hurdles and the high jump. Her teammate, Kelsey Baron, is back to defend her championships in both the long jump and triple jump.
Whitworth has a pair of champions returning with Kristen Shields in the
100 and Leslie Nelson in the 10,000 meters. Other returning individual
event champs include Pacific Lutheran's Carrie Larsen in the 400-meter hurdles, Puget Sound’s Katie Heaton in the pole vault and Linfield's Jennifer Bell-O’Toole in the javelin.

2003 NWC MEET SCHEDULE:

Friday Field Events:
2 p.m.
Women's Pole Vault Final
Women's Javelin Final
Men's Long Jump Final
Men's Discus Throw Final

4:30 p.m.
Women's Discus Throw Final
Women's Long Jump Final
Men's High Jump Final
Men's Javelin Throw Final

Friday Track Events:
3 p.m. Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Semi
3:15 p.m. Men's 110-Meter Hurdles Semi
3:30 p.m. Women's 400 Meters Semi
3:40 p.m. Men's 400 Meters Semi
3:50 p.m. Women's 100 Meters Semi
4 p.m. Men's 100 Meters Semi
4:10 p.m. Women's 800 Meters Semi
4:25 p.m. Men's 800 Meters Semi
4:40 p.m. Women's 400-Meter Hurdles Semi
4:55 p.m. Men's 400-Meter Hurdles Semi
5:10 p.m. Women's 200 Meters Semi
5:20 p.m. Men's 200 Meters Semi
5:40 p.m. Women's Steeplechase Final
6 p.m. Men's Steeplechase Final
6:20 p.m. Women's 10,000 Meters Final
7:10 p.m. Men's 10,000 Meters Final

Saturday Field Events:
10:30 a.m.
Women's Hammer Throw Final
Women's High Jump Final
Men's Pole Vault Final
Men's Triple Jump Final
Men's Shot Put Final

1 p.m.
Women's Triple Jump Final
Women's Shot Put Final
Men's Hammer Throw Final

Saturday Track Events:
Noon Women's 400-Meter Relay Final
12:10 p.m. Men's 400-Meter Relay Final
12:15 p.m. Women's 1500 Meters Final
12:25 p.m. Men's 1500 Meters Final
12:40 p.m. Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Final
12:50 p.m. Men's 110-Meter Hurdles Final
1 p.m. Women's 400 Meters Final
1:10 p.m. Men's 400 Meters Final
1:20 p.m. Women's 100 Meters Final
1:30 p.m. Men's 100 Meters Semi
1:40 p.m. Women's 800 Meters Final
1:50 p.m. Men's 800 Meters Final
2:05 p.m. Women's 400-Meter Hurdles Final
2:15 p.m. Men's 400-Meter Hurdles Final
2:25 p.m. Women's 200 Meters Final
2:35 p.m. Men's 200 Meters Final
2:45 p.m. Women's 5,000 Meters Final
3:10 p.m. Men's 5,000 Meters Final
3:35 p.m. Women's 1600-Meter Relay Final
3:45 p.m. Women's 1600-Meter Relay Final

4 p.m. Awards Ceremony