Bearcats Win Three Events on First Day of NWC Championships

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University won three events on the first day of the Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships at Baker Stadium on Friday, April 20. Highlighting the list of individual champions was Jena Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS), who took first place in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying time and Baker Stadium record of 10:52.71. Also winning NWC titles were Melinda Fahey (Jr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) with a throw of 131’10” in the women’s discus, and Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS) with a time of 31:52.95 in the men's 10,000-meter run.

In addition to winning three events, the Bearcats also ended the preliminaries with the top times in four other events. Kaitlin St. John (Fr., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) had the best time in the women's 100-meter dash preliminaries at 12.61 seconds. She also recorded the top time in the women's 200-meter dash preliminaries at 25.94 seconds.

Jordyn Smith (Jr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) ran the fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles in the women’s preliminaries with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:03.36. Also leading after the preliminary heats was Mariah Hanson (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS), who topped the field with a time of 58.63 seconds in the women’s 400-meter dash.

The Willamette women's team ended the day in first place in the team standings with 70.33 points. WU led by 21.33 points over Linfield College, which held second place with 49 points. George Fox University was third at 48, followed by Pacific University in fourth at 32, Whitworth College in fifth at 31, the University of Puget Sound in sixth at 20.33, Pacific Lutheran University in seventh at 13.33 and Lewis & Clark College in eighth with 9 points.

Willamette was in second place in the men's team standings, 16.83 points behind Linfield College. Linfield was in first place with 77.83 points, while the Bearcats followed with 61 points. Whitworth was third with 49 points, the University of Puget Sound was fourth at 39.5, George Fox was fifth at 32.66, Lewis & Clark was sixth with 6 points, Pacific was seventh with 5 points and Pacific Lutheran University was eighth with 2 points.

St. John will be joined in the 100-meter dash finals by Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS). St. John and May each won their preliminary heat. May’s time in the 100-meter dash was 12.68 seconds, as she trailed only St. John among the leaders in the event. Autumn Schmeck (Fr., Beaverton, OR/Aloha HS) also qualified for the 100-meter finals with a preliminary time of 13.10 seconds.

Willamette registered the top four times in the 200-meter dash preliminaries. St. John led the way (25.94) and was followed by Lydia Marsalli (Fr., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) at 26.03 seconds, Jennifer Luecht (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) at 26.16 seconds and Autumn Schmeck at 26.23 seconds. Overall, Willamette earned six of the eight spots in the finals, with Sascha Larsen-Helbing (So., Honokaa, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) and Katie Klein (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS) also qualifying, with times of 26.48 seconds and 26.63 seconds, respectively.

Hanson was one of four Willamette runners to reach the women’s 400-meter finals. Joining her in the finals will be Luecht, who won the second heat in 59.16 seconds, Marsalli, who recorded a time of 59.61 seconds, and Larsen-Helbing, who was timed at 1:00.06.

Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) won her heat and advanced to the finals of the 800-meter run with a time of 2:24.00. Also advancing to the finals was Chantal Danskey (So., Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS), who clocked in at 2:27.53.

In the 10,000-meter run, Hannah Vietmeier (Fr., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS) took third place at 38:55.48 and Ali Maki (So., Shoreview, WA/Mounds View HS) finished fourth at 38:59.26. Shana Shosky of Pacific University won the event in 38:15.78.

May registered the second fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles by winning her heat in 15:13 seconds. Also moving on to the finals was Brooke Smith (So., Idleyld Park, OR/Glide HS), who had the third best time at 15.57 seconds.

WU placed three athletes in the women’s high jump. Elizabeth Andrews (Fr., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue HS) took second and Schmeck took third, each at 10’6”. Molly Lewis (Fr., Fox Island, WA/Gig Harbor HS) finished seventh after clearing 10’0”.

In addition to Fahey’s winning throw in the women’s discus, the Bearcats also received a fifth place finish in the event from Christina Edholm (Fr., Pleasanton, CA/Foothill HS). Edholm’s top throw covered 105’8”.

Brooke Smith rounded out the top results for the Willamette women’s team, as she took eighth place in the javelin. She recorded a throw of 111’10”.

Three Bearcats qualified for the men’s 400-meter dash finals. Andrew Welch (Fr., Daley City, CA/Terra Nova HS) recorded a preliminary time of 51.26 seconds, Joel Flachsbart (Jr., Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) earned a time of 51.36 seconds and Tristan Bodding-Long (Fr., Woodinville, WA/Woodinville HS) received a time of 52.23 seconds.

In the men’s 800-meter run, WU placed two runners in the finals. Julio Vieyra (Sr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) completed his preliminary heat with a close second place finish and a time of 1:57.71. Kyle Kotaich (Fr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) took fourth place in the other heat, also at 1:57.71.

Willamette took four of the top seven places in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Lucas Nebert (Jr., Cincinnati, OH/Wyoming HS) took second with a time of 9:32.65 and Taylor Roholt (Fr., Albuquerque, NM/Sandia Prep) was third at 9:41.12. Alex Jimenez-Zepeda (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) placed sixth at 9:46.17, while Chris Platano (Fr., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS) was seventh in 9:49.16.

Batch led five Bearcats in the top eight in the 10,000-meter run. He was followed by Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (So., Juneau , AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) in second place with a time of 31:58.67. Josh Clough (So., Auburn, WA/Auburn Riverside HS) placed fourth in 32:21.82, Jamie Timbrell (Sr., San Francisco, CA/San Francisco University HS) was seventh with a time of 32:27.77 and Steven Millard (Jr., Port Orchard, WA/South Kitsap HS) was eighth at 32:35.96.

Four WU athletes advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles. Drew Lackman (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) won his heat and had the second best time in the preliminaries at 15.54 seconds. Garrison Coy (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) registered a time of 15.59 seconds, while Grant Piros (So., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) clocked in at 16.12 seconds and Dylan Ordonez (Sr., Dallas, OR/Dallas HS) earned a time of 16.32 seconds.

Lackman and Coy also reached the finals in the 400-meter hurdles. Lackman won his heat with the third fastest time overall at 56.46 seconds. Coy took second place in the other heat in 56.34 seconds. Flachsbart also advanced to the finals, after running his preliminary race in 57.69 seconds.

Ian Mansfield (Jr., Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) took fourth place in the men’s high jump. His top jump cleared 6’1.25”.

Piros finished second in the men’s javelin throw with a toss of 196’5”. First place went to Joel Krebs of George Fox University, who broke the 200’-mark with a throw of 210’0”.

The NWC Championships will conclude on Saturday, April 21, starting at 10:30 a.m. (PDT). Willamette has won five consecutive NWC women's track and field titles and five consecutive NWC men's track and field titles.

NWC Track and Field Championships - Final Results (including First Day)