Bearcats Win Five Events on First Day of NWC Championships

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Willamette University won five individual titles on the first day of the Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships, Friday, April 18 at George Fox University. The Willamette women's team held first place in the team standings, while the Bearcat men were in third place and within striking distance of the lead.

Action in the NWC Championships will conclude on Saturday, April 19. Willamette has won six consecutive NWC women's titles and five of the last six NWC men's championships.

In the women's team standings, Willamette had 76 points and was followed by Whitworth University in second with 45 points. George Fox was third at 35.50, the University of Puget Sound was fourth at 34, Linfield College was fifth at 31, Pacific Lutheran University was sixth at 20, Lewis & Clark College was seventh at 16 and Pacific University was eighth at 15.50.

The men's team leader was Whitworth University with 72 points. Linfield held second place at 61 points and was followed by Willamette in third at 58, George Fox in fourth at 34, Puget Sound in fifth at 26, Pacific in sixth at 19, Pacific Lutheran in seventh at 2 and Lewis & Clark in eighth at 1.

Willamette women's team members earning first place finishes in the finals of their respective events were Sarah Zerzan (Sr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) in the 10,000-meter run, Jena Winger (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Christina Edholm (So., Pleasanton, CA/Foothill HS) in the shot put.

Zerzan and Winger also achieved provisional qualifying times for the NCAA Division III National Championships. Zerzan completed the 10,000 in 37:37.35 to win the race and finish 2.65 seconds under the provisional qualifying standard of 37:40.00. Winger won the steeplechase in 10:46.5, as she lowered her own school record and previous provisional mark of 10:51.06.

Zerzan was one of three Bearcats to score points in the women's 10,000. Katrina Brett (Sr., Longview, WA/Mark Morris HS) took fourth place in 38:18.8. Hannah Vietmeier (So., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS) finished fifth at 38:28.2.

Edholm took first place in the shot put with a career-best toss of 37'7.25". Her throw was 4.25" ahead of Karen Chase from Puget Sound, who went 37'3.00".

Individual champions on the Bearcat men's team were Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS) in the 10,000-meter run and Taylor Roholt (So., Albuquerque, NM/Sandia Prep) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Batch won the 10,000 by eight seconds with a time of 31:18.8. Francis Reynolds of UPS was second at 31:26.8.

Batch led four Bearcats among the top seven finishers in the 10,000. Steven Millard (Sr., Port Orchard, WA/South Kitsap HS) was fifth at 32:17.4, Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (Jr., Juneau, AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) placed sixth at 32:21.3 and Josh Clough (Jr., Auburn, WA/Auburn Riverside HS) was seventh at 32:24.6.

Roholt logged a time of 9:29.9 in the steeplechase to claim first place by 2.4 seconds. Chris McIsaac of Linfield placed second with a time of 9:32.3.

Joining Roholt in the top eight were four other Bearcats. Lucas Nebert (Sr., Cincinnati, OH/Wyoming HS) took third at 9:32.7 and Kellen Peters (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS/Pacific University) was fourth at 9:34.3. Chris Platano (So., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS) was seventh and Alex Jimenez (Jr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) was eighth.

In addition to Zerzan and Winger, the Bearcats also received a provisional qualifying mark from Brooke Smith (Jr., Idleyld Park, OR/Glide HS) in the women's javelin. Smith took second place in the event with a throw of 129'8". Roxanne Gilbride of Lewis & Clark won the javelin with a toss of 132'10".

Significant results for other Willamette women's team members competing in finals were:
* Elizabeth Andrews (So., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue HS) - 3rd place in the pole vault at 9'7"
* Holly Winter (Jr., Dundee, OR/Newberg HS) - 4th place in the shot put at 36'6.75"
* Brooke Smith - 6th place in the shot put at 32'8.50"

Additional key results for members of the WU men's squad in finals were:
* Jacob Monroe (Jr., Keizer, OR/McNary HS) - 4th place in the shot put at 48'10.25"
* Daniel Pearson (So., Granger, WA/Dwight D. Eisenhower HS) - 6th place in the high jump at 6'1.25"
* Steve Collins (Fr., Zillah, WA/Zillah HS) - 8th place in the shot put at 44'2.50"

Top performances by Willamette women in preliminary heats were:
* Jennifer Luecht (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) - 3rd in qualifying, 200-meter dash (26.43 seconds);
6th in qualifying, 100-meter dash (13.04 seconds)
* Lydia Marsalli (So., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) - 2nd in qualifying, 200-meter dash (26.37 seconds); 2nd in qualifying, 400-meter dash (1:00.11)
* Chantal Danskey (Jr., Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS) - 6th in qualifying, 400-meter dash (1:02.88)
* Jordyn Smith (Sr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) - 4th in qualifying, 800-meter run (2:27.28); 4th in qualifying, 400-meter hurdles (1:05.42)
* Karly Killam (Sr., Kailua, HI/Punahou School) - 5th in qualifying, 800-meter run (2:27.33)
* Brooke Smith - 4th in qualifying, 100-meter hurdles (15.52 seconds)

Significant performances by Willamette men in preliminary heats were:
* Merben Woo (Jr., Salinas, CA/Hartnell JC) - 7th in qualifying, 200-meter dash (22.99 seconds)
* Tristan Bodding-Long (So., Woodinville, WA/Woodinville HS) - 3rd in qualifying, 400-meter dash (51.82 seconds)
* Andy Meuser (So., Portland, OR/Woodrow Wilson HS) - 5th in qualifying, 400-meter dash (52.20 seconds)
* Kyle Kotaich (So., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) - 2nd in qualifying, 800-meter run (1:56.35)
* Trevor May (Fr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) - 4th in qualifying, 110-meter hurdles (15.89 seconds)
* Drew Lackman (Jr., Gib Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) - 1st in qualifying, 400-meter hurdles (56.43 seconds); 6th in qualifying in the 110-meter hurdles (15.95 seconds)
* Garrison Coy (Jr., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS) - 4th in qualifying, 400-meter hurdles (56.81 seconds)

NWC Championships at George Fox University, Newberg, Ore.
Sarah Zerzan won the 10,000 with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 37:37.35.

Sarah Zerzan won the 10,000 with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 37:37.35.

Brooke Smith earned an NCAA provisional qualifying throw of 129'8

Brooke Smith earned an NCAA provisional qualifying throw of 129'8