Watts repeats as NCAA Division III decathlon champion; Scott, Starkey earn All-America honors
Willamette entered three track & field athletes in the NCAA Division III national championships and all three came away with All-America honors, highlighted by Jimmy Watts (sr., Lakeview HS) repeat championship in the decathlon May 25-27 at North Central College.
Watts scored a school-record 7,384 points in the two-day decathlon, outdistancing his nearest competitor by nearly 200 points, Shipley Ennis of Pacific Lutheran (7,196). Watts entered the meet with a personal best of 7,160 points and was hoping to surpass David Crumes 1984 school record of 7,199 points.
Watts national championship scored 10 points for Willamette, which put the Bearcats in a tie for 23rd place in the team scoring. He also placed 11th in the high jump with a mark of 6-6 3/4.
Monica Scott (jr., Nestucca HS) finished third in the javelin and Lisa Starkey (jr., Del Oro HS, Calif.) placed fourth in the 800 meters to earn All-America honors, which includes the top eight places. Scott threw just eight inches under her season best with a mark of of 135-11. The javelin was won by Rowans Kathleen Darling, who tossed the spear 146-8 for a meet and stadium record. Scott placed fifth at nationals in the javelin in 1999.
Starkey won one of three heats in the 800 with a personal best of 2:10.94, then placed fourth in the finals with a time of 2:12.44. Leah Juno of Wisconsin-Stevens Point edged favorite Heather Stone of the University of the South at the wire. Junos time was 2:10.60; Stone finished in 2:10.67.
The 11 points Scott and Starkey scored put Willamette in 22nd place, but the Bearcats were the highest scoring team at nationals among the Northwest Conference schools. Watts had a banner day during the first day of the decathlon on Thursday. He matched season bests in the 100 (11.47) and high jump (6-10 3/4), and set season bests in the long jump (22-3 1/2), shot put (42-10 1/4) and 400 meter run (50.51). His shot put was an improvement by more than five feet. All five of his marks on the second day were slightly below his season bests.
Willamette's Beth Fitzgerald (sr., McCall-Donnelly HS, Idaho) had qualified for the national meet in the 800 and 1,500, but did not participate due to injuries.