Zerzan Attains Automatic Qualifying Time of 4:31.52 in 1,500-Meter Run

EUGENE, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's and women's track and field teams competed against some of the top athletes on the West Coast at the Oregon Twilight Meet on Saturday, May 5 at the University of Oregon. Sarah Zerzan (Jr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) provided Willamette's top performance of the event, as she achieved an NCAA Division III automatic qualifying time in the 1,500-meter run by completing the race in 4:31.52. A crowd of 5,398 was on hand at Oregon's Hayward Field.

Zerzan's efforts set a Willamette record and resulted in one of seven NCAA automatic or provisional qualifying standards achieved by WU athletes at the Oregon Twilight Meet. Zerzan's automatic qualifying time improved her previous school record of 4:33.87, which was a provisional qualifying time set on April 21, 2007. She achieved an automatic qualifying time in the 5,000-meter run (16:28.54) earlier in the season.

Provisional qualifying marks for the Bearcats at the Oregon Twilight Meet were earned by Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) in the women's 1,500-meter run, Jordyn Smith (Jr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) in the 800-meter run, Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) in the women's 100-meter hurdles, Mariah Hanson (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) in the women's 400-meter dash, and Melinda Fahey (Jr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) in the women's discus throw.

Willamette's 4 x 100-meter relay 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 May also achieved a provisional qualifying time.

Coffman registered a time of 4:38.44 in the 1,500-meter run. Earlier this year, she earned a provisional qualifying time of 4:35.68, which remains her top time. Zerzan took 11th place in the event, while Coffman finished in 13th place. The top eight places in the event went to club or unattached runners. Zoe Nelson from the University of Oregon attained the top collegiate time at 4:29.24.

Jordyn Smith ran the 800-meter race in 2:12.44. She easily achieved a faster time than the provisional standard of 2:14.70 and was only 0.64 seconds away from the automatic standard. Smith took third place in the second heat, as she trailed only Kayleen McDowell of Boise State University (2:09.62) and club runner Jennie Castle (2:10.67). Smith also has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles, after earning a time of 1:02.34 earlier in the season.

May took second place in the 100-meter hurdles and set a Willamette record with a time of 14.72 seconds. She trailed only Lauryn Jordan, a club runner, who clocked in at 14:28 seconds. May lowered her provisional qualifying time of 14.84 seconds, which was the previous school record set earlier this season. Brooke Smith (So., Idleyld Park, OR/Glide HS) also ran the 100-meter hurdles for the Bearcats and placed fourth at 15.81 seconds.

Hanson placed fourth in the first heat of the 400-meter dash, as she registered a time of 57.60 seconds. She also achieved the provisional standard earlier in the season with a time of 56.86 seconds, which remains her top time. Also running in the first heat of the 400-meter dash for Willamette, were Jennifer Luecht (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS), who took fifth in 58.84 seconds, and Marsalli, who finished sixth in 59.88 seconds.

Fahey threw the discus 136' 5" to claim third place. She also earned a provisional qualifying mark earlier this season with a toss of 136' 10", which remained her best throw of the season. Annie Hess from Concordia University (Ore.) won the discus throw at 169' 11".

WU's 4 x 100-meter relay team took first place with a winning time of 48.39 seconds, as the Bearcats lowered their previous provisional qualifying time of 48.48 seconds, registered on April 27 at the Western Oregon Twilight Meet. The relay team also established a Willamette record for the second time in just over a week.

Although Willamette's men's team did not achieve any new provisional qualifying times at the Oregon Twilight Meet, several members of the squad performed well. Kyle Kotaich (Fr. Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) took ninth place in the "B" section of the 1,500-meter run, as he concluded the race in 3:56.03. His time was just 0.83 seconds away from the NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS) placed 15th in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:55.28, just 7.28 seconds slower than the provisional standard of 14.48.00. Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (So., Juneau, AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) finished the 5,000-meter run just over 10 seconds after Batch, as he took 18th place at 15:05.87.

Lucas Nebert (Jr., Cincinnati,OH/Wyoming HS) finished 11th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He clocked in at 9:41.19, missing the provisional qualifying mark by 18.19 seconds.

Drew Lackman (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) took seventh place in the 400-meter hurdles. He ran the race in 56.12 seconds. Garrison Coy (So., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) also competed in the 400-meter race and claimed eighth place with a time of 56.82 seconds. Joel Flachsbart (Jr., Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) was seventh in the 800-meter run, earning a time of 1:58.17.

Willamette's next track and field action is set for Friday, May 11 at the Western Oregon Last Chance Meet in Monmouth, Ore. Field events are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (PDT), with track events slated to get underway at 5:30 p.m. (PDT).

Oregon Twilight - Results

For More Information:
Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

Sarah Zerzan set a Willamette record and registered an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:31.52 in the 1,500-meter run at the Oregon Twilight Meet.

Sarah Zerzan set a Willamette record and registered an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:31.52 in the 1,500-meter run at the Oregon Twilight Meet.