Batch and Winger Earn Provisional Times for NCAA Nationals

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

SALEM, ORE. -- It was a cold night at the Charles Bowles Track on Friday, April 4, but the Bearcats had a hot finish in the Celebration of Distance at the Willamette Invitational, as Jena Winger (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) and Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS) each recorded a provisional qualifying time for the NCAA Division III National Championships. Winger recorded a time of 17:21.59 in the women's 5,000-meter run, while Batch was timed at 14:31.79 in the men's 5,000-meter run.

The Willamette Invitational continues on Saturday, April 5. Field events will get underway at 10:00 a.m. (PDT). Running events will start at 12:00 p.m. (PDT).

Nearly all of Friday's schedule was filled with distance events. The only field events held on Friday were the men's hammer throw and the women's hammer throw.

The slower heats in the distance races were held during the afternoon and the early evening. The Charles Bowles Celebration of Distance covered the final 1 1/2 hours and featured the fastest heats.

Batch and Winger ran exceptional races.

In the men's 5,000, Batch was the top collegiate finisher and took second overall behind Eddie Earnest-Jones from the Greater Boise Running Club, who registered a time of 14:24.54. Former WU runner Jake Stout, also with the Greater Boise Running Club, took third in 14:36.07.

Batch's time of 14:31.79 was more than 16 seconds faster than the NCAA provisional standard of 14:48 and was less than four seconds away from the automatic standard of 14:28. Batch cut 23.18 seconds from his previous personal best.

In the women's 5,000, Winger was second among collegiate runners and sixth overall. Kelly Fullerton of Team XO won the event in 17:01.32.

Winger, who also participates in cross country at Willamette, was competing in the 5,000 in track and field for the first time during her WU career. Her time of 17:21.59 was more than 13 seconds under the NCAA provisional standard of 17:35. Earlier this season, Winger achieved an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 10:51.06.

Jordyn Smith (Sr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) and Carly Killam (Sr., Kailua, HI/Punahou School) ran well in the women's 800-meter run. Smith was clocked at 2:15.58 and Killam followed at 2:15.82, as both runners finished less than one second away from the NCAA provisional standard of 2:15. Smith was fourth in the heat and Killam was fifth.

The men's and women's 800-meter races were the only events started but not completed on Friday. Several heats in both events will be held on Saturday.

Other top finishers for the Willamette women were Melinda Fahey (Sr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) and Molly Lewis (So., Fox Island, WA/Gig Harbor HS).

Fahey placed third in the hammer throw with a toss of 147'6". The hammer was won by Sabrina Freed of Western Oregon University with a throw of 168'5".

Lewis was seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Her time was 11:35.12. Lauren Denfeld of Oregon State University took first place at 10:57.19.

Also recording top eight finishes for the Bearcat men's team were Kellen Peters (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS/Pacific University), Jacob Monroe (Jr., Keizer, OR/McNary HS), Steve Collins (Fr., Zilla, WA/Zilla HS) and Kyle Kotaich (So., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS).

Peters was the top collegiate runner and took second overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He completed the event in 9:36.74 and trailed only Pat Johnson of Team XO, who finished in 9:18.06.

Monroe achieved fourth place in the hammer throw with a toss of 158'1". Quniten Baxter of Eastern Oregon University threw the hammer 187'11" to win the event. Collins also competed in the hammer for Willamette and earned seventh place with a distance of 147'10".

Kotaich was the third collegiate runner to cross the finish line and was sixth overall in the 1,500-meter run, as he recorded a time of 3:59.86. He missed the NCAA provisional standard by 4.06 seconds. The 1,500 was won by Jonathan Marcus of the West Valley Track Club with a time of 3:55.97.

Willamette Invitational - First Day Results
Friday, April 4 at Charles Bowles Track
Ian Batch completed the 5,000-meter race in 14:31.79 for an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying time.

Ian Batch completed the 5,000-meter race in 14:31.79 for an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying time.

Willamette runner Jena Winger

Willamette runner Jena Winger