Luecht Wins 400-Meter Dash for Bearcats at Willamette Invitational

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

SALEM, ORE. -- One of the largest collegiate track and field meets on the West Coast concluded on Saturday, April 3 with the second day of the Willamette Invitational at the Charles Bowles Track. The meet featured more than 1,000 entries with a total of 42 college teams and running clubs represented.

Jennifer Luecht (Sr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) of Willamette won the women's 400-meter dash. She achieved the victory in the field of 20 runners with a time of 58.94 seconds. She won by more than a second over Nicole Nida of Spokane Community College, who finished second at 1:00.06. Jaela Dinsmore (So., Hines, OR/Burns HS) of WU placed fifth at 1:00.48.

New track records were set on Saturday in the women's 100-meter dash and the women's 800-meter run. Chanel James of Spokane CC established the new record in the 100 by winning the race in 12.05 seconds. The previous Charles Bowles Track record was 12.06 seconds and was set by Sheren Wegener of Western Oregon University in 1986.

In the 800, Lauren Johnson of 185 Striders reached the finish in 2:09.81. She broke the old record of 2:10.04, which was set by Rachel Sauder in 1998.

Overall, four new track records were set during this year's Willamette Invitational. On Friday, Kelly Jaske of the New York Athletic Club registered a record in the women's 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:22.62. Also on Friday, Marko Cheseto from the University of Alaska-Anchorage achieved a new mark in the men's 10,000-meter run, as he won the race in 29:41.86.

In addition to Luecht, several other Willamette athletes provided outstanding efforts on the second day of the meet.

Christina Edholm (Pleasanton, CA/Foothill HS) took second place in the women's shot put and third place in the women's discus on Saturday. She achieved a top throw of 38'8.75" in the shot put and earned a toss of 112'10" in the discus. Her distance in the discus was just two inches short of her personal record. Edholm won the hammer on Friday with a throw of 131'11".

Adrienne Davis of Portland State University won the shot put at 44'2". Christina Hardie of Lane CC prevailed in the discus at 125'7".

Katie Peterson (Jr., Independence, OR/Central HS) of WU was third in the women's javelin with a toss of 133'6". The winner of the javelin was Amanda Schumaker of Western Oregon with a throw of 140'0".

Willamette placed third in the 4 x 100-meter relay. The Bearcats registered a time of 49.73 seconds. Spokane CC took first place in 48.05 seconds and Western Oregon University was second in 48.35 seconds. a total of 11 teams competed in the relay.

Rachel Siebuhr (Fr., Centralia, WA/Centralia HS) finished fifth in the women's triple jump. She recorded a distance of 34'4" and was just one-and-a-half inches out of fourth place. Kim Wilson of Lane Community College earned the top distance in the women's triple jump at 37'10.75".

Brandi Miller (So., Grants Pass, OR/North Valley HS) was sixth in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:06.44. Her time was faster than all of the top times recorded by Northwest Conference athletes prior to this weekend.

Willamette's Neal Howard (So., Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) contributed a fifth place finish for the Bearcats in the men's 100-meter dash with a time of 11.02 seconds. Howard's time was close to his personal best of 10.96 seconds set earlier this season.

Unattached runner Chris Stubbs took first place in the 100 in 10.61 seconds. Stubbs also won the 400-meter dash in 48.30 seconds. Paul Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake HS) of Willamette placed third in the 400 at 49.40 seconds. Winger qualified for the Northwest Conference Meet and was just 0.05 from his personal record.

Trevor May (Jr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) of WU finished third in the 110-meter hurdles, as he completed the race in 15.52 seconds. Freshman Matthew Merritt (Aurora, OR/North Marion HS) set a personal record of 57.74 seconds for seventh place in the 400-meter hurdles.

Ryan McWilliams, an unattached athlete, won both of the hurdles events, claiming the 110 hurdles in 14.44 seconds and the 400 hurdles in 52.66 seconds.

Willamette placed third in the men's 4 x 400-meter relay and was fourth in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay. In the 4 x 400, WU earned a time of 3:25.27 to take nearly two seconds off the Bearcats' previous top time this season. In the 4 x 100, the Bearcats clocked in at 43.10 seconds, missing third place by 0.04 behind Seattle University (43.06).

Three Bearcats cleared 13'1.50" in the pole vault. They were Cliff Chen (Sr., Salem, OR/South Salem HS), Brandt Nevin (Jr., Eagle Point, OR/Eagle Point HS) and Colby Takeda (Jr., Mililani, HI/Iolani School). Chen and Nevin qualified for the NWC Meet. Takeda previously recorded an NWC qualifying height. Chen took sixth place overall based on fewer jumps.

Josh Clothier (Jr., Walla Walla, WA/Walla Walla HS) placed second in the men's shot put with a throw of 48'4.75". The winner of the event was Jason Slowey from Western Oregon, who achieved a distance of 48'9". Trent Michels (Fr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) of WU was fifth and David Oppat (Jr., Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) was sixth.

Oppat took fourth in the discus, as he produced a toss of 135'0". Wyatt Briggs (Fr., Scio, OR/Scio HS) was fifth at 132'10".

The WU Invite began on Friday, April 2 with the men's and women's hammer throw, plus the longer races from the 1,500 through the 10,000 during the Celebration of Distance. All of the remaining events were held on Saturday.

Willamette Invitational
Charles Bowles Track
Salem, Ore.
April 2-3, 2010
Jennifer Luecht won the 400-meter dash in 58.94 seconds.

Jennifer Luecht won the 400-meter dash in 58.94 seconds.

Christina Edholm won the hammer, placed second in the shot put and was third in the discus.

Christina Edholm won the hammer, placed second in the shot put and was third in the discus.

Neal Howard

Neal Howard