Willamette Olympian to be Honored at Football Game

Willamette University will honor Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds '06 during halftime at the Willamette versus Lewis & Clark College football game Saturday, Oct. 11. After being honored, Symmonds will be available to sign autographs.

The Willamette Bearcats and the Lewis & Clark Pioneers will kick off Saturday's game at 1:30 p.m. at McCulloch Stadium. The WU football team, ranked #18 by the American Football Coaches Association and #21 in the Top 25, is 5-0 on the season.

Symmonds, who won a total of seven NCAA Division III national championships in the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run while attending Willamette, reached the semifinal heats of the 800 this past summer at the Beijing Olympics. He won his preliminary heat in a time of 1:46.01. He finished fifth in his semifinal heat in 1:46.96.

His career-best time in the 800 of 1:44.10 was recorded during his exciting win at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., earlier in the summer. Symmonds, running for the Oregon Track Club/Nike, claimed victory by nearly a second and was just .09 seconds off the Hayward Field record.

What fans will remember, however, is his tremendous comeback during the race. Symmonds was in sixth place and appeared to be boxed in with about 100 meters remaining. Even so, he closed with the powerful kick that is his trademark, as he worked his way forward on the outside, then returned to the inside lane.