Four Willamette Track and Field Athletes Earn NWC Honors

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Four Willamette University track and field athletes have been honored by the Northwest Conference for their efforts during the week ending March 16, 2008. Kyle Kotaich, Jena Winger, Grant Piros and Brooke Smith were selected as NWC Athletes of the Week. The Bearcats hosted a track and field meet against Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and several unattached and club team athletes on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15 at the Charles Bowles Track.

Kyle Kotaich recorded a time of 1:55.48 in the 800-meter run.NWC Men's Track Athlete of the Week
Kyle Kotaich (So., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) took second place in the 800-meter run at the WU/WOU/SOU Meet on Saturday, March 15. His time of 1:55.48 was just 0.40 seconds behind winner Jeff Long from Western Oregon. Kotaich’s time also was only 2.28 seconds off the NCAA Division III provisional qualifying standard and was nearly three seconds faster than the previous best in the NWC this spring.

Jena Winger earned an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 10:51.06 in the steeplechase.
NWC Women's Track Athlete of the Week
Jena Winger (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the WU/WOU/SOU Meet with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 10:51.06. She also established a Willamette school record, breaking her own record of 10:52.71, set last year. Winger’s record-setting run last season also was a provisional qualifying mark. She competed at the 2007 NCAA National Championships.

Grant Piros threw the javelin 200'4NWC Men's Field Athlete of the Week
Grant Piros (Jr., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) won the decathlon at the WU/WOU/SOU Meet on March 15with a career-best score of 5,958. As part of the decathlon, he threw the javelin a career-best 200’4” surpassing the NCAA provisional qualifying mark for the second year in a row. He competed in the javelin at the 2007 NCAA National Championships. Piros missed the provisional qualifying standard in the decathlon by just 42 points.

Brooke Smith earned a score of 4,068 points in the heptathlon.NWC Women's Field Athlete of the Week
Brooke Smith (Jr., Idleyld Park, OR/Glide HS) won the heptathlon at the WU/WOU/SOU Meet with 4,068 points and missed the provisional qualifying mark by just 32 points. She scored her highest point totals in the 100-meter hurdles (15.88 seconds, 729 points), the high jump (5'1.75”, 701 points) and the javelin (120'10", 607 points). Her overall score for the seven events set a new personal record.

Charles Bowles Classic and Oregon Preview are Next on Willamette's Schedule
The Bearcats will host the Charles Bowles Classic on Friday, March 21, starting at 10 a.m. (PDT). More than 20 teams are scheduled to compete, with 917 entries involving 550 athletes.

Several members of the Willamette men's and women's track and field teams will compete at the Oregon Preview, hosted by the University of Oregon, on Saturday, March 22. Action will begin in Eugene, Ore., at 11:15 a.m. (PDT).

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Willamette University Bearcat logo