WU wins NWC titles for second straight year; Sullivan, Andrews, Symmonds win NWC honors; McGrane breaks school record in 400 hurdles

TACOMA, Wash. — For the second year in a row, Willamette’s track & field teams were crowned champions of the Northwest Conference. The Bearcat squads won both titles on Saturday with relative ease at Pacific Lutheran University.

The Willamette men won the team title by more than 100 points, outdistancing second-place Whitworth 264-160. Linfield was third with 108.5 points.

The Bearcat women tallied 227 points, well ahead of Whitworth (158) and Pacific Lutheran (114).

The Willamette women received individual championships from: Alicia Andrews in the 400 (58.32 — No. 3 all-time at WU) and 800 (2:18.81); Kari Holbert in the 1,500 (4:50.85); Natalie Muren in the 5,000 (18:19.26); Jazzmin Reece in the 100 hurdles (15.14 — No. 2 all-time at WU); Shannon McGrane in the 400 hurdles (1:02.43 — *new school record); Kasey Sorenson in the shot put (39-10 3/4); and the 4x400 relay (3:59.62 — No. 3 all-time at WU).

Andrews repeated her title in the 800, giving Willamette an NWC champion in that event for the seventh straight year — Beth Fitzgerald Rainford (1997-99), Lisa Starkey (2000-01) and Andrews (2002).

The Bearcat men received individual titles from: Nick Symmonds in the 800 (1:55.03) and 1,500 (3:54.92); Brennan Garrelts in the 110 hurdles (15.09); Brett McNeil in the pole vault (15-1 3/4 — No. 3 all-time at WU); and Nate Matlock in the shot put (48-1 3/4). Matlock also won the shot put title in 2002.

Willamette also dominated the post-meet awards. Coach Kelly Sullivan was named NWC Coach of the Year for both the men and women. Andrews shared the NWC Women’s Athlete of the Year award with George Fox senior Kelsey Baron (long jump, triple jump winner). Symmonds shared the NWC Men’s Athlete of the Year award with GFU junior Ben Salisbury (100, 200 winner).

Holbert, who also won the steeplechase on Friday, set the only meet record in the championships with her winning time of 11:18.9.

* Former school record of 1:02.98 was set by Amy Carlson in 1994.