Bearcats Shine At Oregon Preview and Linfield Invite; Coffman, Pledger, Zerzan Go After All-Time Willamette Marks

Competing at both the Linfield Invitational and the Oregon Preview, the Willamette University track and field teams once again showed their abilities at running events and had more strong performances from some young field event athletes.

Nick Symmonds (SR, Boise, ID) ran his first 800 of the year, winning the event at the Oregon Preview by a full two seconds over Division I competition in a time of 1:49.57. Symmonds took command of the race at the 300 meter mark and finished strongly for the victory.

Sarah Zerzan (SO., San Carlos, CA) ran down another school record, this time in the 3000 meter run. In a strong field, Zerzan ran a 9:47, breaking a 21 yr old school record, set by Kara Crisifulli.

On Friday at the Linfield Preview, Willamette's distance runners headlined the event with three individual race winners out of the six they entered.

In a breakout performance, Alex Jimenez (FR., Parkdale, OR), running the 1500, settled in the pack for approximately 800 meters, then broke away from the field on the back stretch, galloping to the win in a personal best 4:05.89, three seconds better than the next finisher.

In the women's steeplechase, three freshmen ran personal bests in the event that consists of 35 barriers over 3000 meters. The leader of that pack was Maddie Coffman (FR., Boise, ID) who finished in 11:48, a mark that puts her #4 All-Time at Willamette and is the top time in the NWC this year.

In the men's 5000, a large group of Bearcats controlled the tempo of the race throughout, but it was David Dorr (SO., Philomath, OR), a transfer from Corban College, who moved away from his competition with 400 meters to go, running to a personal best of 15:37.

Alanna Pledger (FR., Wilsonville, OR), the 2006 Oregon Preview high jump champion, added three quarters of an inch to her collegiate best, jumping 5 feet 5  inches (#2 All-Time at Willamette).

In other action at the Linfield Invitational on Friday, Kelsey Priest (Fr, Hillsboro, OR) won the 200 meter dash in 276.21, then followed with a second place finish in the 400 at 1:01.01.

Melinda Fahey won the women's hammer throw with a heave of 123-01 and finished third in the discus with a toss of 126-00.

Brandon Bennett won the men's shot put, throwing 42-09.5.