Winger Sets WU Record, Earns Provisional Qualifying Time in Steeplechase

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Two Willamette University track and field athletes recorded provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Division III National Championships during WU's home track meet against Western Oregon University and Southern Oregon University on Saturday, March 15 at the Charles Bowles Track. The provisional qualifying marks highlighted a solid day for the Bearcats.

Jena Winger (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) earned a provisional qualify time of 10:51.06 and set a Willamette school record while winning the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Grant Piros (Jr., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) attained his provisional mark with a javelin throw of 200'4" during the decathlon.

Winger's record performance allowed her to win the steeplechase in a head-to-head battle with Jessica Harper of Western Oregon. Winger edged Harper by less than half a second, with Harper crossing the finish line in 10:51.52. The Willamette record was already held by Winger after she registered a time of 10:52.71 last season.

Piros, who trailed Western's Clint Hickey by 158 points following the first five events in the decathlon on Friday, surged into the lead on Saturday and won overall competition with 5,958 points. He won three of the final five events, and picked up 754 points with his javelin throw. Hickey, who finished second with 5,810 points, held a 216-point lead until the javelin, which was the ninth event overall.

Winger and Piros both recorded a provisional qualifying mark in their respective events for the second year in a row. Piros almost added a provisional mark in the decathlon, as he finished just 42 points away from the standard of 6,000.

Brooke Smith (Jr., Idleyld Park, OR/Glide HS) won the heptathlon for Willamette and nearly achieved a provisional qualifying mark. She earned a final score of 4,068 points, just 32 points from the standard in the multi-event. She scored her highest point totals in the 100-meter hurdles (15.88 seconds, 729 pts.), the high jump (5'1.75", 701 pts.) and the javelin (120'10", 607 pts.). Her overall score set a new personal record.

Willamette's Jennifer Luecht (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS), the defending Northwest Conference champion in the 200-meter dash, won the event on Saturday with a time of 26.17 seconds. She was followed by teammates Lydia Marsalli (So., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) in second at 26.30 seconds and Kaitlin St. John (So., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) in third at 26.38 seconds.

Luecht also took second in the 100-meter dash at 12.97 seconds. Lauren Duckett from Western Oregon won the event after recording a time of 12.65 seconds.

Willamette was the only team with runners in the women's 5,000, but that didn't stop the Bearcats from recording solid times. Molly Lewis (So., Fox Island, WA/Gig Harbor HS) moved into eighth place on WU's Top 10 list in the event with a winning time of 18:23.93. Hannah Vietmeier (So., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS) clocked in at 18:31.06 and Katrina Brett (Sr., Longview, WA/Mark Morris HS) recorded a personal best time of 18:33.32.

Marsalli earned the WU women's best time this season in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.57 seconds. She won the event, while St. John took third at 1:00.54 and Jordyn Smith (Sr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) was fourth at 1:00.55.

The Bearcat men excelled in the 1,500-meter run, as seven new qualifying marks were achieved for the Northwest Conference championships later this spring. WU's top finisher was Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS), who took second place and was timed at 3:58.37, the fastest time by an NWC runner this season. Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (Jr., Juneau, AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) was third in 3:58.77 and Kellen Peters (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS/Pacific Univ.) was fourth at 3:59.41.

Kyle Kotaich (So., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) of Willamette took second in the men's 800-meter run. He clocked in at 1:55.48, les than one-half second behind the winner, Jeff Long of Western Oregon, who was timed at 1:55.08. Kotaich's time was just 2.28 seconds away from the provisional qualifying mark.

In the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, Taylor Roholt (So., Albuquerque, NM/Sandia Prep) returned to action following a bicycle accident earlier this year and took first place with a time of 9:46.83. He won by 6.63 seconds over Josh Seitz of Southern Oregon.

Willamette achieved a 1-2-3 finish in the shot put. Josh Clothier (Fr., Walla Walla, WA/Walla Walla HS) led the way with a toss of 45'1.5". Jacob Monroe (Jr., Keizer, OR/McNary HS) was second at 44'8.75" and Steven Collins (Fr., Zillah, WA/Zillah HS) was third at 44'2".

Clothier also threw the discus for just the second time in competition and wont he event at 134'11". Monroe took second place at 134'1", while Jason Slowey of Western Oregon was third at 133'3".

Daniel Pierson (So., Granger, WA/Dwight D. Eisenhower HS) of Willamette competed in the high jump for the first time. He registered an NWC Championship qualifying height of 5'11.50". Danny Cecchini of SOU won the high jump at 6'3.5"

In the pole vault, Colby Takeda (Fr., Mililani, HI/Iolani HS) won the event for the Bearcats and tied the top performance in the NWC this season by clearing 13'5.25". Brandt Nevin (Fr., Eagle Point, OR/Eagle Point HS) and Cliff Chen (So., Salem, OR/South Salem HS), both from Willamette, tied for second place at 12'5.5".

Willamette's next action is set for Friday, March 21 at the Charles Bowles Classic. The Bearcats will host the meet starting at 10 a.m. (PDT) at the Charles Bowles Track.

Willamette's National Qualifiers for 2008 (Through March 15)
Melinda Fahey - Women's Hammer Throw - 153'7" (Provisional; School Record)
Carly Killam - Women's 1,500-meter Run - 4:39.71 (Provisional)
Grant Piros - Men's Javelin - 200'4" (Provisional)
Jena Winger - Women's 3,000-meter Steeplechase - 10:51.06 (Provisional; School Record)

Complete Results

March 15 at Charles Bowles Track

Willamette/Western Oregon/Southern Oregon Meet

Grant Piros throws a provisional mark in the javelin on his way to a decathlon victory.

Grant Piros throws a provisional mark in the javelin on his way to a decathlon victory.

Jena Winger recorded a provisional qualifying time in the steeplechase.

Jena Winger recorded a provisional qualifying time in the steeplechase.