Bearcats to Compete at NWC Championships in Track and Field

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

SALEM, ORE. -- A talented group of athletes will compete for Willamette University this weekend at the Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships, hosted by Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. Action is set to begin on Friday, April 22 at 2 p.m. (PDT). The competition will continue on Saturday, April 23 starting at 10:30 a.m.

The Willamette men's and women's track and field teams have a history of success in the NWC. Willamette has won 21 conference team titles in men's track and field and 13 NWC titles in women's track and field. Since 2002, the Bearcats have won all nine women's championships and six of the nine men's titles.

Last year, the WU women's squad rallied from 28 points behind after the first day to win the NWC Championship with 162 points. George Fox University slipped into second place with 156 points. In the final men's standings, Whitworth University placed first with 266 points and Willamette was second with 185 points.

It should be another fierce battle between the competing teams, and the Bearcats hope to be among the leaders when the final events end on Saturday.

Willamette has seven athletes who have attained NCAA Division III qualifying times this spring.

Kimber Mattox (Jr., Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.) leads the way. She registered an automatic qualifying time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 14. Her time was a Willamette record of 10:23.34, as she broke her own school record by about 15 seconds.

Her time was the seventh fastest every recorded by an NCAA Division III athlete. It also was the fastest time in Division III this season.

Mattox also has recorded a provisional qualifying time in the 5,000-meter run. She earned the time at the Willamette Invitational, when she completed the race in 17:10.28. Her time in the 5,000 leads Division III so far in 2011.

Brandi Miller (Jr., Grants Pass, OR/North Valley HS) has a provisional qualifying score in the heptathlon of 4,102 points. She recorded the score and placed second in the heptathlon at the NWC Multi-Event Championships on April 11-12. It was her career-best overall result as a multi-event competitor.

For the Willamette men's team, five athletes have met the NCAA provisional standards this year. They are Leo Castillo (Jr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS), Evin Colignon (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/Charles Wright Academy), Ben Donovan (Jr., Minneapolis, MN/South HS), David Oppat (Sr., Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) and Stefan Redfield (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS).

Castillo won a close finish in the 10,000-meter run at the Willamette Invitational to claim his qualifying time. He was victorious in the race by 0.33 seconds and was timed at 30:38.01.

Colignon amassed 6,419 points to win the NWC decathlon title during the NWC Multi-Event Championships earlier this month. While recording the top score, he took first place in the shot put and the discus, and finished in the top five in nine of the 10 events.

Donovan has earned a qualifying time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase two times this season. His top time of 9:18.22 was achieved at the Mt. SAC Relays on April14 and was a new personal record.

The top qualifying mark for Oppat in the shot put was 52'8" at the Lewis & Clark Invitational this past weekend. Oppat's throw won the event at L&C. Oppat also recorded a qualifying mark in the shot put earlier this season at the Willamette Invitational.

Also earning his qualifying mark last weekend was Redfield, who recorded a time of 3:53.35 in the 1,500-meter run during the Mt. SAC Relays on Friday, April 15. He is one of just eight Division III athletes to register a qualifying time in the men's 1,500 so far this season.

When the NWC Top Times were most recently released on April 12, Willamette had at least one athlete ranked among the top five marks in 14 of the 19 men's events and 14 of the 19 women's events (including the decathlon/heptathlon). WU had three of the top five results in the men's 1,500, 5,000 and 3,000-meter steeplechase, plus the women's 1,500.

Jaela Dinsmore (Jr., Hines, OR/Burns HS) was ranked in the top five in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. Mattox was among the top five in the 800-meter run, 1,500-meter run, 5,000-meter run and 3,000-meter steeplechase.

For the Bearcat men's team, Castillo was listed in the top five of the 1,500-meter run, 5,000-meter run and 10,000-meter run.

Results from the NWC Multi-Event Championships, held on April 11-12 in Spokane, Wash., have been recorded and will count toward the NWC team titles. Among the men's teams, George Fox University scored 14 points, while Willamette earned 12 points, Whitworth had 10 points and Pacific Lutheran University achieved three points.

In the women's competition, George Fox tallied 27 points during the heptathlon. Willamette was next with six points and was followed by Pacific University with three points, Pacific Lutheran with two points and Whitworth with one point.


NWC Track and Field
At Maxwell Field
McMinnville, Ore.
April 22-23, 2011

Kimber Mattox has earned NCAA qualifying times this season in the steeplechase and the 5,000.

Kimber Mattox has earned NCAA qualifying times this season in the steeplechase and the 5,000.