Bearcats Win NWC Championships in Men's and Women's Track and Field

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

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- Willamette University earned Northwest Conference men's and women's track and field team titles at the NWC Championships, held on April 24-25 at Lincoln Park Stadium. The Willamette women achieved their eighth consecutive title, while the Bearcat men claimed their sixth championship in the last eight years.

Kimber Mattox (Fr., Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.) was chosen as the Women's Athlete of the Meet. She took first place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 10:38.50. She also won the 5,000-meter run in 17:48.32 and was third in the 1,500-meter run with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 4:38.25.

Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was chosen NWC Men's Track and Field Coach of the Year and also was named NWC Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year. It was the fourth time he has received the men's award and the sixth time he has been selected for the women's award.

Josh Lovell of Linfield College was named the Men's Athlete of the Meet. Lovell won the decathlon (Apr. 13-14) and the long jump (Friday). He was a member of Linfield's winning teams in the 4 x 100-meter relay and the 4 x 400-meter relay. He took second place in the high jump and was third in the 100-meter dash and the 110-meter hurdles.

Willamette won the women's team title with 196.5 points. Whitworth University was second at 150, with George Fox University in third at 124. Pacific Lutheran University placed fourth at 112, with Linfield in fifth at 104.5. Lewis & Clark College and the University of Puget Sound tied for sixth with 50 points, and Pacific University was eighth with 31 points.

The Bearcat men won the team title with 217 points. Whitworth placed second with 198 points, Linfield was third at 178, George Fox took fourth at 84, Pacific Lutheran was fifth at 62, Puget Sound placed sixth at 43, Lewis & Clark was seventh at 24 and Pacific was eighth at 8.

Overall, it was a great NWC Championship meet for Willamette. The Bearcats won eight women's events and nine men's events, scored significant points in a variety of areas including many with multiple scorers, and received a steady lineup of NCAA qualifying marks, personal bests and near personal bests. Five Willamette athletes won two individual events apiece.

Jennifer Luecht (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) of Willamette won her third consecutive NWC championship in the 200-meter dash and also won the 400-meter dash. Her winning time in the 200 was 25.76 seconds and her time in the 400 was a personal-best 57.23 seconds. She provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400.

Luecht also ran the anchor leg on Willamette's victorious 4 x 400-meter relay team, which finished the race in 4:00.95. Joining Luecht on the winning relay were Kaitlin St. John (Jr., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS), Lydia Marsalli (Jr., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) and Jaela Dinsmore (Fr., Hines, OR/Burns HS).

Maddie Coffman (Jr., Boise, ID/Boise HS) registered two wins, as she took first in the 800-meter run in 2:17.53 and finished first in the 1,500-meter run in 4:34.24. Her time in the 1,500 was an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Coffman led a 1-2-3 result for WU in the 1,500. Jena Winger (Sr., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) was second with an NCAA provisional time of 4:37.24. Mattox completed the top three sweep with her NCAA provisional mark of 4:38.25.

Also claiming an NWC title for the Bearcat women's team was Christina Edholm (Jr., Pleasanton, CA/Foothill HS). She outdistanced the field in the shot put to win for the second year in a row. Edholm earned a top throw of 39'5.25".

Double event winners for the WU men's team were Leo Castillo (Fr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) and Drew Lackman (Sr., Gig Harbor, WA/Gig Harbor HS).

Castillo recorded first place results in the 1,500-meter run in 3:55.57 and the 5,000-meter run at 15:16.01. Lackman swept the hurdle events, winning the  110-meter hurdles in 15.36 seconds and the 400-meter hurdles in 55.98 seconds.

Five other members of the Bearcat men's team each placed first in one event. On Friday, Grant Piros (Sr., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) improved his NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the javelin with a winning throw of 203'0". On Saturday, Jacob Monroe (Sr., Keizer, OR/McNary HS) added 8 1/2 feet to his NCAA provisional distance in the hammer throw, as he won the event with a toss of 184'6".

Chris Platano (Jr., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS) joined Piros as a winner on Friday. Platano finished first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:32.33.

Also winning events for the 'Cats were freshmen Raymond White (Corona, CA/Centennial HS) and Paul Winger (Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake HS). White was victorious in the triple jump at 44'10.75". He led a 1-3 finish, with Jonathan Woodland (Sr., Creswell, OR/Creswell HS) taking third at 43'6". Winger earned a personal-best of 49.35 seconds to win the 400-meter dash.

Individual event champions for the Bearcat women's team were:
200-meter Dash: Jenifer Luecht, 25.76 seconds
400-meter Dash: Jennifer Luecht, 57.23 seconds, NCAA provisional qualifier
800-meter Run: Maddie Coffman, 2:17.53
1,500-meter Run: Maddie Coffman, 4:34.24, NCAA provisional qualifier
5,000-meter Run: Kimber Mattox, 17:48.32
3,000-meter Steeplechase (Friday): Kimber Mattox, 10:38.50, NCAA automatic qualifier
Shot Put: Christina Edholm, 39'5.25"

Relay champions for the Bearcat women's team were:
4 x 100-meter Relay: Willamette, 4:00.95 (Kaitlin St. John, Lydia Marsalli, Jaela Dinsmore, Jennifer Luecht)

Individual event champions for the Willamette men's team were:
400-meter Dash: Paul Winger, 49.35 seconds
1,500-meter Run: Leo Castillo, 3:55.57
5,000-meter Run: Leo Castillo, 15:16.01
110-meter Hurdles: Drew Lackman, 15.36 seconds
400-meter Hurdles: Drew Lackman, 55.98 seconds
3,000-meter Steeplechase (Friday): Chris Platano, 9:32.33
Triple Jump: Raymond White, 44'10.75"
Hammer Throw: Jacob Monroe, 184'6" (NCAA provisional qualifier)
Javelin (Friday): Grant Piros, 203'0" (NCAA provisional qualifier)

COMPLETE RESULTS
NWC Championships
At Lincoln Park Stadium
Forest Grove, Ore.
April 24-25, 2009
Jennifer Luecht won her third NWC title in the 200-meter dash in 25.76 and also took first in the 400-meter dash with an NCAA provisional time of 57.23.

Jennifer Luecht won her third NWC title in the 200-meter dash in 25.76 and also took first in the 400-meter dash with an NCAA provisional time of 57.23.

Jacob Monroe won the hammer throw and improved his NCAA provisional mark with a toss of 184'6

Jacob Monroe won the hammer throw and improved his NCAA provisional mark with a toss of 184'6

Maddie Coffman won the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run.

Maddie Coffman won the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run.

Drew Lackman earned NWC titles in the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles.

Drew Lackman earned NWC titles in the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles.