By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University track and field teams are ready to travel to Spokane, Washington, where Whitworth University will host the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22. All the action will take place at Boppell Track on the Whitworth campus.
Official entries have been made for all of the competing teams. The Bearcats will be represented by 36 athletes -- 18 from the men's team and 18 from the women's team. Many participants from Willamette are ranked among the top five competitors in their events.
Events will start at 2 p.m. (PDT) on Friday and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. On Friday, finals will be held in men's pole vault, women's high jump, men's and women's long jump, men's and women's hammer throw, men's and women's shot put, men's and women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, and men's and women's 10,000-meter run. Preliminay heats will take place on Friday in all of the dashes and hurdles, as well as the men's and women's 800-meter run. All events on Saturday will be finals.
Bearcats Ranked among the Women's Top 5 Entries
Two of the top three qualifying times belong to Willamette runners in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Ami Boucher (Sr., Concord, CA/Northgate HS) is ranked first with a time of 11:27.41. Emily Evans (So., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS) is third at 11:56.92.
Hannah Swanson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) is second among competitors in the 1,500-meter run with a top time of 4:40.31, which she attained at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on March 31. Swanson is ranked 29th on the NCAA Division III performance list in the 1,500.
Maura Forbush (Sr., Hollister, CA/San Benito HS) is listed third in the 400-meter dash at 58.92 seconds. In the 800-meter run, Swanson has the fourth-best qualifying time at 2:19.64.
In the 100-meter hurdles, Melissa Scott (Fr., Tustin, CA/Beckman HS) has the fourth-fastest time at 15.82 seconds. In the 400-meter hurdles, Jewell Sparks (Jr., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS) is ranked fifth at 1:05.40.
Teneah Rushen (Jr., Portland, OR/Franklin HS) is fifth among athletes entered in the 100-meter dass. Her top time this season was 12.75 seconds at the Willamette Invitational on March 25.
Willamette is seeded fourth in the 4 x 100-meter relay at 49.67 seconds. The Bearcats are only 0.09 out of third, 0.19 out of second and 0.45 out of first. Scheduled to compete on the 4 x 100 relay are Bridgette Peirce (Jr., Reno, NV/Earl Wooster HS), Sparks, Forbush and Rushen.
Olivia Mancl (Sr./Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) is ninth in the 5,000-meter run, but has missed most of the season due to a foot injury. She competed at the NCAA Championships in the 5,000 last season.
Hope Duenas (Fr., Covina, CA/Covina HS) of WU is ranked second in the discus throw. Her top throw of the season covered 133' 3" at the Jenn Boyman Invitational on April 1. Angie Turpen (Sr., Alsea, OR/Alsea HS) is third in the hammer throw with a distance of 129' 5" at the John Knight Twilight on April 7.
Willamette Athletes in the Men's Top 5 Entries
The Bearcats hold first and third among the top times in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Loftus owns a time of 9:25.09 to lead the field, while Keith Carlson (So., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) is third at 9:50.53.
Loftus is ranked 13th on NCAA Division III in the steeplechase. His top time was recorded at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.
Jack Wellman (Jr., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS) of WU is ranked fourth among athletes in the 400-meter dash. Wellman's top time of the season is 50.40 seconds, which matches John Koch of George Fox University, who is ranked third. Jack Kobylka (Jr., Napa, CA/Vintage HS) is fifth in the 800-meter run.
The Bearcats are seeded fifth in the 4 x 100-meter relay with a time of 43.42 seconds. Runners on the relay for Willamette are D'Angelo Guiton (Jr., Alameda, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS), Wellman, Connor Giannini (Fr., Veradale, WA/Gonzaga Prep.) and Orion Ewell (So., WR, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS).
RoShaan Rogers (Jr., Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) is just outside the top five in the 400-meter hurdles. His best time of the year was 58.16 seconds at the Willamette Invitational. He is sixth among participants in the 400 hurdles this weekend, just 0.09 behind Jackson Hope of Whitworth in fifth.
The shot put includes Saige Swan (Fr., Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS) of Willamette, who is fifth among qualifiers with a distance of 45' 9" at the John Knight Twilight.
Elijah Hall-Crockett (Fr., DB, Phoenix, AZ/Cesar Chavez HS) just missed the top five distances in the triple jump. He is sixth with a distance of 42' 2.75". He earned his top throw at the John Knight Twilight.