Zerzan Breaks Automatic Qualifying Mark by 40 Seconds in 10,000-Meter Run

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Sarah Zerzan (Jr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) of Willamette University achieved an automatic qualifying mark in the 10,000-meter run at the Charles Bowles Spring Break Classic to earn a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championships, set for May 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Zerzan's time was 35:20.17, nearly 40 seconds under the automatic qualifying standard of 36:00.00, as she set a new Willamette University record by 43.47 seconds. The old record of 36:03.64 was set by Danya Rumore in 2004.

"Sarah Zerzan made a national qualifying mark look pretty easy," said Matt McGuirk, Willamette University head coach of track and field and cross country.

Zerzan won the 2006 NCAA Division III women's cross country individual national title this past fall by 20 seconds with a time of 22:31 over the 6-kilometer course in wet and muddy conditions. She took 11th place in the 5,000-meter run at the 2006 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 17:41.82, following just one-and-a-half weeks of practice after recovering from being hit by a car earlier in the spring.

Other Willamette winners in women's events at the Charles Bowles Classic were Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) in the 800-meter run (2:17.94), Brooke Smith (Idleyld, Park, OR/Glide HS) in the heptathlon (3,837) and Mariah Hanson (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) in the 400-meter dash (57.71 seconds), plus Willamette's teams in the 4 x 100-meter relay (49.19 seconds) and the 4 x 400-meter relay (4:00.59). Winners from the Willamette men's team were Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (So., Juneau, AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) in the 10,000-meter run (35:20.21) and Grant Piros in the decathlon (5,833 points).

Piros missed the NCAA provisional qualifying mark by just 167 points in the decathlon, while Smith missed the provisional qualifying mark in the heptathlon by 263 points. Hanson narrowly missed the provisional mark in the women's 400-meter dash, as she finished just 0.11 seconds away from the 57.60 standard. Likewise, the WU women's 4 x 100-meter relay was only 0.31 seconds off the provisional time.

In addition to winning the women's 4 x 100-meter relay, Willamette's team of Autumn Schmeck (Fr., Beaverton, OR/Aloha HS), Lydia Marsalli (Fr., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS), Kaitlin St. John (Fr., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) and Katie Klein (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS) recorded the third-fastest time in school history. The team's result was just 0.15 seconds away from the WU record of 49.04 seconds, set in 1989.

Schmeck and Elizabeth Andrews (Fr., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue HS) both cleared 10' 0" in the pole vault. Schmeck took second, while Andrews placed third.

Jennifer Luecht (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) and St. John registered 400-meter times of 58.44 and 59.25 seconds, respectively. Luecht took second and St. John placed third during the meet, as they trailed only Hanson's winning time of 57.71. Marsalli took third for Willamette in the women's 100-meter dash with a time of 12.70 seconds.

The Bearcats' winning 4 x 400-meter women's relay team included Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), Marsalli, Sascha Larsen-Helbing (So., Honokaa, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) and Hanson. May and Hanson were members of last year's 4 x 400-meter relay team, which set a school record and placed second at the NCAA Division III National Championships with a time of 3:47.85.

Jacob Monroe (So., Keizer, OR/McNary HS) took third place in the men's hammer throw, as he registered a distance of 152' 3". He also claimed sixth place in the shot put, with a toss of 41' 10.5". Brittany Farrer (So., Medford, OR/South Medford HS) finished second in the women's shot put at 39' 0.25", as she trailed Katharine Tripp of Concordia University (Ore.) by just 5.75 inches.

Julio Vieyra (Sr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) placed second in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:30.95. Lucas Nebert (Jr., Cincinnati, OH/Wyoming HS) took third in the same event at 9:53.60.

Hanna Vietmeier (Fr., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS) was fourth in the women's 1,500-meter run, as she concluded the race in 4:54.29. In the men's 1,500-meter run, Ian Batch (Jr., Boise, ID/Capital HS) finished in third place with a time of 3:57.77. Andrew Welch (Fr., Daly City, CA/Terra Nova HS) placed third in the men's 400-meter dash, after clocking in at 51.43 seconds.

Coffman's wining time in the 800-meter run (2:17.94) was nearly equalled by Jordyn Smith (Jr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) in the heptathlon. Smith's 800-meter time in the multi-event competition was 2:17.95. Jena Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS), who joined Coffman in the open 800, took third place and registered a time of 2:18.80. Kyle Kotaich (Fr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) placed fourth in the men's 800-meter run at 1:56.54, as he missed third place by 0.11 seconds.

May achieved fourth place in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:05.96. She was 0.60 seconds out of second place. Garrison Coy (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) was fourth in the men's 400-meter hurdles, as he recorded a time of 56.05 seconds. The second and third place finishers completed the race just 0.14 and 0.05 seconds in front of Coy.

WU's next track and field action in scheduled for Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7, when the Bearcats host the Willamette Invitational. The Bearcats also will compete at home during the NWC Multi-Event Championships, set for April 9-10 at Charles Bowles Track.

Willamette All-Time Top 10 Career-Best Performances
Led by Zerzan's school record in the 10,000-meter run and the 4 x 100-meter relay's success, the Bearcat women's team placed nine results on the Willamette list of Top 10 all-time, career-best performances.

The list of new Top 10 rankings:
#1 - 10,000-meter run - Zerzan, 35:20.17
#3 - 4 x 100-meter relay - Schmeck, Marsalli, St. John and Klein, 49.19
#7 - 400-meter dash - Luecht, 58.44
#7 - 100-meter dash - Marsalli, 12.70
#7 (tie) - Pole Vault - Schmeck, 10' 0"
#7 (tie) - Pole Vault - Andrews, 10' 0"
#8 - 4 x 400-meter relay - May, Marsalli, Larsen-Helbing and Hanson, 4:00.59
#9 - 400-meter dash - St. John, 59.25
#9 - Heptathlon - Brooke Smith, 3837 points

Note: Hanson already held the #3 ranking in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.11 in 2004

Charles Bowles Spring Break Classic - Women's Results
Charles Bowles Spring Break Classic - Men's Results

Sarah Zerzan qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championships with a time of 35:20.17 in the 10,000-meter run at the Charles Bowles Spring Break Classic.

Sarah Zerzan qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championships with a time of 35:20.17 in the 10,000-meter run at the Charles Bowles Spring Break Classic.