Bearcat Men Fourth in NCAA Championships With Three All-American Performances Friday

WAVERLY, IA — Three Willamette athletes earned All-American honors in day two of the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday.

The Bearcat men, led by All-American performances from Tyler May (3rd in the decathlon), Aaron Hollingshead (2nd in the 3000 steeplechase and Zach Larsen (6th in the high jump), are currently fourth in the team competition.

Four Bearcat men will be competing tomorrow in five different events. The women will have six athletes competing in four different events as they try to move up in the championship hunt.

In other action Friday, Nick Symmonds and Alicia Andrews qualified in the 800m race and will compete in the finals Saturday in the final day of the meet.

Senior All-American Tyler May (Florence, OR) started off day two of the decathlon in 12th place. He finished first with a 15.00 in the 110 hurdles, nearly a half second ahead of the rest of the field. Following that, he climbed into sixth place with a 131-03 effort in the discus, good for third place in that event. May then competed quite well in the pole vault (12 feet 9 1/2 inches) and the javelin with a throw of 171-01, which launched him into third place. May held on to third place in the final event, the 400, giving him a final score of 6842, the second highest of his career. May also finished third in last year’s decathlon.

All-American high jumper Zach Larsen (Blachly, OR) earned his second All-American award in the high jump, finishing in sixth place. With his jumps coach, Alison Wood, unable to be at the meet, Larsen’s dad, Ed Larsen coached his son as Larsen leaped 6 ft 8 in the national finals, two places higher than he finished in 2004.

Aaron Hollingshead (SR., Portland, OR) followed the game plan to perfection in the 3000m steeplechase. Aaron tucked in behind the nation’s leader (Zach Barr, Monmouth) and stayed there throughout the race. With one lap to go, Barr was able to open a slight gap and that was the difference. Hollingshead finished in second place finish in 9:07.34, just four seconds off of the national champion.

This is the highest finish that Willamette has had in the steeplechase at a Division III national meet, and it sets up Hollingshead for a very competitive 5000 meter race, set to go late afternoon tomorrow.

In the qualifying rounds of the 800, three Willamette athletes looking to make the finals.

Starting off for the men, 2003 & 2004 national champion Nick Symmonds stayed out of trouble throughout the race and cruised to a 1:52.67, taking second in his heat and putting him into the race of 8 tomorrow.

The nation’s leader in the women’s 800, All-American Alicia Andrews (SR., Clarkston, WA) ran well in the first heat of the day, as she ran comfortably behind the leader to a 2:14.44, setting herself up for a great day tomorrow in the women’s final of the 800 and 4X400 relay.

Sophomore Carly Killam (Punahou, HI) ran in the same heat, battled well throughout the race, but was unable to qualify for the finals, finishing 16 th overall with a time of 2:17.21.

Senior All-American Nate Matlock (Boise, ID), in his first national shot put competition, put together a solid day, throwing a best of 52 feet 6 3/4 inches (12 th place). However, that was not enough to qualify him for finals, so he will concentrate solely on improving upon last year’s sixth place finish in the hammer throw, where he is currently ranked 3 rd in the nation. That event will be Saturday.

Current results and scores can be found by clicking results in the events section of the Willamette athletics home page.