Willamette Women Win Ninth Straight NWC Track and Field Title

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Willamette University women's track and field athletes rallied past George Fox University on Saturday, April 24, as the Bearcats won their ninth consecutive Northwest Conference team championship. Willamette placed second in the race for the men's team title, with host Whitworth University claiming first place.

In the women's competition, George Fox led Willamette by 28 points after the first day of action on Friday, but the Bearcats surged ahead on Saturday. Willamette finished with 161 points, while GFU took second place with 156 points.

Whitworth placed third in the women's standings with 119.5 points, while Linfield College was fourth at 113.5. Pacific Lutheran University was fifth with 84 points, Lewis & Clark College was sixth at 81, the University of Puget Sound was seventh at 75 and Pacific University was eighth at 23.

Jennifer Luecht (Sr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) won the 200-meter dash in 25.36 seconds and took first place in the 400-meter dash in 57.30 seconds. Her time in the 400 was an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying mark.

Luecht has won the 200 during all four years of her career as a Bearcat and has now claimed back-to-back titles in the 400. Including relays, she is a 10-time NWC champion. She shared Women's Athlete of the Meet honors this weekend with Irene Johnson of George Fox.

WU Head Coach Matt McGuirk and GFU Head Coach John Smith tied for NWC Women's Coach of the Year honors. Toby Schwarz of Whitworth was named NWC Men's Coach of the Year and thrower Jeff Kinter of Whitworth was chosen Men's Athlete of the Meet.

Erynn Rebol (Fr., Cottonwood, CA/Red Bluff Union HS) won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.34. Theresa Edwards (Fr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) finished second in 2:22.60, as the Bearcats claimed the top two spots in the race.

Kimber Mattox (So., Bend, OR/Bend HS) won the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:44.11. The victory was Mattox's second of the meet. She also won the steeplechase on Friday. In addition to her two wins, Mattox placed third in the 5,000-meter run.

Bearcat freshman Rachel Siebuhr (Centralia, WA/Centralia HS) registered a key win for WU in the triple jump. Siebuhr recorded a personal-best 36' 2" to win by 2.5 inches over Angie Miller of George Fox and by 2.75 inches over Beth Stam from GFU. Stam had the top distance in the NWC prior to the meet by just two inches over Siebuhr.

Willamette won the women's 4 x 400 relay with a time of 4:01.88. The Bearcats finished almost three seconds ahead of second place George Fox (4:04.74).

Senior thrower Christina Edholm (Pleasanton, CA/Foothill HS) of WU placed in two events on Saturday. She took second in the shot put at 37' 10.50" and was fifth in the hammer throw at 134' 3". She placed sixth in the discus on Friday.

In men's action, Paul Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake HS) was a double individual event winner for WU. Winger won the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash with times of 21.98 seconds and 48.98 seconds, respectively. It was his second consecutive NWC title in the 400.

Winger led a 1-3-4-6 finish by the Bearcats in the 200. Neal Howard (So., Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) was second in 22.40 seconds and Tristan Bodding-Long (Sr., Woodinville, WA/Woodinville HS) was third in 22.43 seconds. Nate Dick (Sr., Stanfield, OR/Stanfield HS/So. Oregon Univ.) was sixth at 23.03 seconds.

Howard was third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.06 seconds. Dick placed fourth in the 100 in 11.34 seconds.

The men excelled in the relays, winning both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. The WU 4 x 100 relay team of Dick, Howard, Bodding-Long and Winger finished the race in 42.11 seconds. Linfield College claimed second place in 42.87 seconds.

The Bearcats' 4 x 400 team won in 3:20.03. Whitworth took second in the race at 3:20.45. Competing on the relay for Willamette were Andy Meuser (Sr., Portland, OR/Woodrow Wilson HS), Matthew Merritt (Fr., Aurora, OR/North Marion HS), Bodding-Long and Winger.

WU received scoring from three runners in both the men's 1,500-meter run and 5,000-meter run. In the 1,500, Stefan Redfield (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) was second in 3:58.54, Leo Castillo (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) was third in 3:59.47 and Ryan McLaughlin (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Milwaukie HS) was fifth in 4:01.18.

Castillo placed third in the 5,000 with a time of 15:23.52. Redfield completed the race in fifth place at 15:26.65 and Ben Donovan (So., Minneapolis, MN/South HS) was sixth in 15:26.81.

Whitworth earned 266 points to win the men's title. Willamette was second with 185 points. Linfield took third with 110.5 points, while Pacific Lutheran was fourth at 89, George Fox was fifth with 82.5, Puget Sound placed sixth at 30, Pacific was seventh at 29 and Lewis & Clark was eighth at 23.

2010 NWC Track & Field Championships
Spokane, Wash.
April 23-24, 2010
Jennifer Luecht won the NWC title in the 200m for the fourth year in a row. She also won her second straight 400m title.

Jennifer Luecht won the NWC title in the 200m for the fourth year in a row. She also won her second straight 400m title.

Paul Winger won the 200 and 400 dashes and also competed on Willamette's winning 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams.

Paul Winger won the 200 and 400 dashes and also competed on Willamette's winning 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams.