Willamette Men and Women Win Northwest Conference; Matt McGuirk Named Male and Female Coach of the Year

Tacoma, Wash. -For the third consecutive year the men's and women's NWC Track and Field Championships belong to the Willamette University Bearcats. Willamette becomes the first school to win three consecutive titles on both the men's and women's sides of the meet since Pacific Lutheran University did so from 1997-99.

In the final team standings for the two-day Championship Willamette's men's team outdistanced second-place George Fox University 264.5 points to 142. Linfield College took third (124), Puget Sound fourth (90), and Whitworth College (72.5) fifth. Pacific Lutheran (71), Lewis and Clark College (29), and Pacific University (20) rounded out the eight -team results.

On the women's side, the Bearcats were just an impressive, finishing with 206.5 points to take first-place. Whitworth took second with 173 points, followed by Linfield with 157 points. Pacific Lutheran University finished fourth (84.5), Lewis and Clark (71.5) took fifth, while Puget Sound (65.5) finished sixth. George Fox (34) and Pacific University (27) complete the standings.

Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was named NWC Male and Female Coach of the Year. McGuirk was hired in January to lead the Bearcats Track and Field and Cross Country programs, and follows former coach Kelly Sullivan in garnering Coach of the Year honors.

Whitworth College's Kristen Shields was named NWC Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year. Shield's won the NWC individual champion in the 100m and 200m events, posting NCAA provisional qualifiers in both.

George Fox University's Ben Salisbury was named NWC Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year. Salisbury won the 100m and 200m individual titles, and anchored the Bruins winning 4x100 Relay team.

In action from today's events, three athletes posted NCAA provisional qualifiers in the women's 400m dash. Lewis and Clark's Jody Swan (56.72) finished first, followed by Mariah Hanson (57.11) and Alicia Andrews (57.14), each from Willamette. Andrews also won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:18.43.

Puget Sound's Jena Robinson won the women's triple jump with an NCAA provisional mark of 11.33-meters. Letwon Canton (13.77m) from Willamette won on the men's side.

Whitworth's Leslie Nelson set a NWC record and NCAA provisional qualifier in the women's 10,000-meter run, completing the distance in 36:23.88, bettering the mark by just over ten seconds. Annie Scott, also from Whitworth, held the previous mark of 36:24.25, set in May of 2001.

Puget Sound senior Dan McLean won the men's 1500-meters with a time of 3:58.69. Willamette's Scott Overby (3:59.65) and Jacob Stout (4:00.03) rounded out the top three. In the women's race Willamette runners took five of the top six places. Kari Holbert won the event with a time of 4:47.76. Holbert also won the 3000meter steeplechase in action yesterday.

In the anticipated finals of the women's 400-meter hurdles, Pacific Lutheran's Carrie Larsen took first with a time of 1:02.27, just edging Willamette Bearcat Shannon McGrane who crossed the line in 1:02.82. Bearcat Roseann Kassebaum finished third in a time of 1:04.26. All three times are NCAA provisional qualifiers. In the men's 400m hurdles Bruin Seth Harris posted a NCAA provisional mark, running a time of 52.21.

George Fox's Ryan Sprunger took home first-pace honors in the men's 400-meter dash, crossing the line in an NCAA provisional time of 48.33 meters.

Puget Sound sophomore Frank Prince won his second individual title of the championships, running away with the men's 5,000-meters a day after winning the 10,000m.

Nate Matlock won the men's hammer for the Bearcats with a throw of 53.03 meters. The win was the second of the meet for Matlock, who also won the men's discus on Saturday.

Athletes who finish in the top three of their individual event are considered All-NWC selections.