Bearcats are Ready for NWC Championship Action in Tennis, Track and Field, Men's Golf

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University will be competing in NWC championship events this weekend in men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and men's golf. The NWC Tennis Championsnhips will be played in Yakima, Wash., on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. Additional conference titles will be determined at the NWC Track and Field Championships in Tacoma, Wash., also on Friday and Saturday. The NWC Championship tournament in men's golf will begin on Sunday, April 22 and conclude on Monday, April 23 at the Tokatee Golf Club in Blue River, Ore.

The Willamette men's tennis team gets the championship weekend underway at 8 a.m. (PDT) on Friday, when the #5-seeded Bearcats will take on the #4 seed, the University of Puget Sound, in a dual match format. UPS won both regular season meetings by 5-4 scores and another fiercely-contested match in anticipated. Later, the Willamette women's tennis team, seeded #6, will play #3-seeded Whitman College, with the action starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).
Willamette's Alaine Anderson (Jr., Santa Ana, CA/Foothills,HS) has won 12 consecutive singles matches.

The NWC Tennis Tournament includes the top six (of nine) teams in the regular season standings in both the men's and women's divisions, with the top two teams in each division receiving first round byes. If weather permits, matches for third and fifth place will be played.

Willamette has won five consecutive NWC women's track and field titles and five consecutive NWC men's track and field championships. The 2007 NWC Track and Field Championships begin at 2 p.m. (PDT) on Friday and at 10:30 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday. Heading into the championships, Willamette has the NWC's top time or distance in 11 women's events and in five men's events.

The Bearcats have put together a strong track and field season, with one automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III National Championships and several provisional qualifiers. Sarah Zerzan (Jr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) has automatically qualified in the women's 5,000-meter run at 16:28.54 and provisionally qualified in the women's 1,500-meter run at 4:39.96.

Other provisional qualifiers are Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) in the women's 1,500 at 4:39.55, Grant Piros (So., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) in the men's javelin at 199'3", Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) in the women's 100-meter hurdles at 14.84 seconds, Mariah Hanson (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) in the women's 400-meter dash at 56.86 seconds, Julio Vieyra (Sr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) in the men's 1,500-meter run at 3:53.32 and Melinda Fahey (Jr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) in the women's discus throw at 136'10".

The NWC Golf Championship, which counts for one-half of the points in the final NWC standings, will begin with 36 holes on Sunday, with the final 18 holes set for Monday. Following the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic, each worth one-fourth of the total points in the final standings, Willamette is in sixth place with four points. Linfield College holds first place with 13.5 points. Points are awarded according to team finish at each of the three tournaments, with no points given to teams that do not participate or are unable to field complete squads.