Bearcats Send 14 Athletes to Nationals This Weekend

SALEM, OR — The Willamette University track and field team will send 14 athletes to compete at the NCAA Division III Track and field Championships this weekend at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. The Bearcats qualified eight women and six men who leave Tuesday for the championships with Head Coach Matt McGuirk.

The nation’s fastest 400 hurdler this season has been senior All-American Shannon McGrane (Colville, WA), who also is on the nationally qualified 4X400 relay team (3:54.43) that currently ranks 13th in the country. McGrane’s mark of 60.95 is a school record. She competed in both the 400 hurdles and 4X400 at last year’s national championship.

Joining McGrane on the 4X400 team is senior All-American Alicia Andrews (Clarkston, WA). Andrews recently posted a nation’s best in the 800 with a time of 2:10.57, which is #3 All-Time at Willamette. As a sophomore, Andrews was sixth in the half-mile event and was runner-up at last year’s national meet. She is the top returner going into the meet.

Freshman Jordyn Smith (Henderson, NV) continues to be an impact athlete in her freshman year. Following a strong volleyball season, Smith has qualified for the national meet in the 800, 400 hurdles, and the 4X400 relay. She is currently ranked 14 th in the 800 (2:13.84) and 8th in the 400 hurdles (62.74). Smith will run the 400 hurdles and the 4X400 relay in hopes of being the first Bearcat freshman to attain All-American honors since Nick Symmonds in 2003.

Sophomore Carly Killam (Punahou, HI) will be competing at her first national track and field meet after helping the women’s team to a 9th place finish at this year’s National Cross-Country Championships. Killam’s time of 2:13.82 in the 800 is currently 12th in the country, and #5 All-Time at Willamette. Killam is a member of one 4X400 relay that includes McGrane, Smith, and Andrews, although she will not run in the relay at Nationals.

Bearcat women qualified another relay team with the addition of Northwest Conference 100 meter champion Andrea May (SO., Bellingham, WA), and allows for Killam to run the 800 fresh. May is a top prep hurdler from Washington who has battled injuries the past couple years. In order to benefit the team and herself, she focused on sprinting this season.

In addition to having the 2nd best javelin mark in the country (147-04), freshman Kelsey Stolz (Bandon, OR) was a second team All-Northwest Conference outfielder for the Willamette softball team this spring. Kelsey’s throw of 136-07 earned her the javelin title at the Northwest Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships and her best throw up to this point is one inch short of the school record.

Stolz is joined by sophomore javelin thrower Sophia Dentzel (WA). Dentzel was the runner-up at conference to Stolz, and her best throw of 137-01 is currently 11th in the country.

Roseann Kassebaum (JR., Oregon City, OR) will be competing at the national meet for the second straight year in the 400 hurdles. She is one of three Willamette athletes qualified in the long hurdles and is currently ranked 18th in the country with a time of 63.59.

For the men, senior decathlete Tyler May (Florence, OR) set the tone two weeks ago with a nation’s best 7107 points in the decathlon, which is currently #2 to defending 2004 national champion Matt Roberson of Claremont MuddScripps, who owns the #6 decathlon score in Division III history. May’s best mark is #3 All-Time at Willamette and #9 All-Time for Division III.

Joining May is three-time national champion Nick Symmonds (JR., Boise, ID), who leads the nation in two events that he has won before at NCAA’s. Symmonds’ time of 1:48.82 is the 9th all-time effort for Division III and his time of 3:46.49 leads the country by over four seconds. Symmonds will be looking to win back the 1500 title that he and his coaches decided not to defend last season in order to repeat as 800 national champion. He will be looking to win his third consecutive title in the half-mile.

Senior All-American Aaron Hollingshead (Portland, OR) is heading into his final national meet with an impressive resume’ this season. His conference record of 9:01.55 in the 3000m steeplechase is just four tenths of a second off the school record and ranks him second in the country in this event. Hollingshead also is ranked fifth in the country in the 5000 with a time of 14:28.30, which is #4 All-Time at Willamette. He is a two-time All-American in the 3000m steeplechase (2004) and cross-country (2004).

Senior All-American Nate Matlock (Boise, ID) recently broke his school record in the hammer throw with an effort of 192-05, which ranks him 3rd among all NCAA Division III throwers. He also is ranked 13th in the shot put with his recent school record-breaking toss of 53 feet 9 1/4 inches.

Alongside Matlock in the field is fellow senior All-American Zach Larsen (Blachy, OR). Larsen will be attempting to improve last year’s 8th place finish in the high jump at Nationals as he enters the meet with the ninth best jump in the country with a leap of 6 feet 9 inches.

Jeff Liepman (SR., Spokane, WA) will also be looking to add to Willamette’s strength in the field as he is currently holds the 16th best javelin throw in the country with a mark of 192-06.