Seven Bearcats Achieve First Place Finishes at Willamette Mini Meet

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

(TRACK & FIELD) SALEM, ORE. -- Seven Willamette University track and field athletes claimed first place finishes at the Willamette Mini Meet (Spur of the Moment) on Saturday, March 10 at the Charles Bowles Track. The meet featured competitors from Willamette, Clackamas Community College, Western Oregon University, Portland State University, Lane Community College and Mount Hood Community College.

Five events were won by members of the Willamette women's team. Kaitlin St. John (Fr., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) took first place in the 100-meter dash in 12.84 seconds to edge out Stephanie Dittmar of Clackamas, who clocked in at 12.86 seconds.

Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) won the 100-meter hurdles with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 14.99 seconds. She crossed the finish line just over a quarter of a second in front of Jacque Postlewait of Western Oregon (15.25).

Jordyn Smith (Jr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) took first place in the 400-meter hurdles. She won the event with a time of 1:04.47. Her margin of victory was 2.71 seconds over Junia Limage of Mount Hood Community College.

Jena Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) led a 1-2-3-4 finish for Willamette in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, as she improved her personal best by 55 seconds with a time of 11:17.72. She just missed the provisional qualifying standard.

Melinda Fahey (Jr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) was the winner in the discus with a throw of 40.75 meters. She also took second place in the hammer throw, with a toss of 40.77 meters.

Kyle Kotaich (Fr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) won the men's 800-meter run with a time of 1:57:03. Lucas May (Jr., Portland, OR/Franklin HS) took second in the event at 1:57.97. Willamette also earned first place in the men's 10,000-meter run, as Steven Millard (Jr., Port Orchard, WA/South Kitsap HS) was victorious in 34:34.97.

The Bearcats received two solid efforts from Drew Lackman (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) in the hurdles. He took second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.90 seconds and was third in the 110-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 15.43 seconds.

Grant Piros (So., Newberg, OR/Newberg Senior HS) registered personal bests in three events. He was Willamette's top finisher in the javelin with a throw of 56.87 meters (186'7"). He took seventh place in the 110-meter hurdles after recording a time of 15.95 seconds. He also placed ninth in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.13.

Overall, Willamette qualified 19 men's entries and 14 women's entries for the Northwest Conference Championships, set for April 20-21 in Tacoma, Wash. During the first two weeks of the season, WU has qualified a total of 41 men's entries and 52 women's entries for the NWC meet.

"These last two meets (March 3 and March 10 at Willamette) have been very solid ... very good competition in just about every event," said Matt McGuirk, Willamette head track and field coach.

On Saturday, the Bearcats also had eight athletes record times or distances on Willamette's all-time Top 10 career-best rankings. Heading the list was Winger, whose time in the steeplechase (11:17.72) was the third best in WU history. Two other WU entrants in the steeplechase also registered Top 10 times. Maddie Coffman (Jr., Boise, ID/Boise HS) achieved the fourth best time at 11:34.13 and Audrey Squires (Sr., Springfield, OR/Springfield Senior HS) earned the eighth fastest time at 11:54.41.

Two of the Top 10 performances were in the women's pole vault, where Autumn Schmeck (Fr., Beaverton, OR/Aloha HS) and Elizabeth Andrews (Fr., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue Senior HS) both cleared 9'6" to tie for ninth on the all-time list.

Field events also provided the three other Top 10 efforts on Saturday. Fahey's winning throw in the discus (40.75 meters; 133'8") ranked ninth best at Willamette. Emilie Burger (Jr., Saint Helena, CA/Saint Helena HS) placed 10th on the list for the hammer throw, as she recorded a distance of 35.37 meters (116'0"). Prios achieved the 10th best javelin throw with his 186.7" toss.

Willamette's women accumulated a total of five events with at least three competitors in the top six placings at the Mini Meet. The women's events with three or more Bearcats finishing near the top were:

100-Meter Dash: 1st, 3rd, 5th
200-Meter Dash: 3rd, 5th, 6th
10,000-Meter Run: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
3,000-Meter Steeplechase: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Hammer Throw: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th

The Bearcat men's team had at least three athletes in the top six finishers in six events:

800-Meter Run: 1st, 2nd, 5th
10,000-Meter Run: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
400-Meter Hurdles: 2nd,4th, 5th
3,000-Meter Steeplechase: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Long Jump: 3rd, 4th, 6th
Shot Put: 4th, 5th, 6th

Willamette will compete at two track and field meets next weekend. The Bearcats will be at the Linfield Open on Friday, March 16 in McMinnville, Ore., and will also enter the Oregon Preview in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, March 17.

Drew Lackman took second in the 400-meter hurdles and third in the 110-meter hurdles at the Willamette Mini Meet.

Drew Lackman took second in the 400-meter hurdles and third in the 110-meter hurdles at the Willamette Mini Meet.