Bearcats Set Three More NCAA Provisional Marks At WOU Twilight Meet

With only a small number of athletes in action one week after the Northwest Conference Championships, the Willamette University track and field teams had some outstanding performances at the Western Oregon Twilight meet Friday night.

Three more Bearcat athletes set NCAA Division III provisional qualifying marks at the meet.

Starting off the evening, freshman phenom Alanna Pledger (Wilsonville, OR) tied her lifetime best of the 5 feet 7 inches, a mark that currently leaves her in a tie for 5th in all of NCAA Division III.

On the track, 2006 NWC 400 hurdles champion Roseann Kassebaum (SR., Oregon City, OR) and 2005 NCAA Division III All-American Jordyn Smith (SO., Henderson, NV) stepped onto the track with the intention of making another step towards nationals in that event.

In a very strong field, both Smith and Kassebaum showed patience and started to charge halfway through the race. Kassebaum had an outstanding last 150 meters, and crossed the line in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:03.93, while Smith followed closely behind in 1:04.91. Kassebaum's time currently stands 12th in the country for DIII.

Three Willamette runners competed in the 1500. Maddie Coffman (FR., Boise, ID) ran a 2:18.83 in a solid field, and looked impressive doing so. After going through the first lap in about seventy seconds, Coffman came on strong in the last 200 meters to move up in the pack.

Ian Batch (FR., Boise, ID) and Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (FR., Juneau, AK) ran in the men's 1500 with hopes of gearing themselves up for a fast 5000 in the coming weeks. With the race getting out to a fast start, Batch and Knutson-Lombardo raced patiently and alertly in the back of the pack.

After going through the 1200, if was apparent that both were on pace to run under a 4:05 pace. Batch closed in an impressive 62 seconds, running a time of 4:00.64, which is about a six second lifetime best in his first collegiate 1500. Lombardo, who has been coming on strong, ran his final lap in around 64 seconds, running a lifetime best of 4:03.87.

In the final event of the night, the women's 4X400 relay stepped onto the track to build upon their conference title from the week before. With Andrea May (JR., Bellingham, WA) putting in a 57.5 split in the first leg, the team got off to a great start.

By the time that sophomore standout Jordyn Smith received the baton, Willamette was racing against themselves and the clock. When Smith made the handoff to Roseann Kassebaum, it was apparent that our women were on their way to running something very fast.

Mariah Hanson (JR., Poulsbo, WA) took the baton from Kassebaum with nearly seventy meters between herself and the nearest competitor.

Hanson ran an outstanding anchor leg, matching Andrea May's leadoff effort. When Hanson crossed the line, the clock read 3:55.34, which is the 14th fastest time in the country and an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Other winners for the Bearcats included Brennan Garrelts in the men's 110 hurdles and Lindsey Patterson in the long jump. Garrelts ran a 15.2 to win his event while Patterson leaped 17-06.75 to win the women's long jump.