By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hans Lehndorff (Sr., Boulder, CO/Boulder HS) took first place on his final throw of the men's discus, Taylor Ostrander (Sr., Kenai, AK/Kenai Central HS) easily outran the competition in the women's 5,000-meter run, and the Willamette University women's 4 x 100-meter relay team edged past Whitworth University at the finish line, as the Bearcats won three events during the second day of the 2016 Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships on Saturday, April 23.
The first place finishes on Saturday gave Willamette five 2016 NWC titles overall. On Friday, Hannah Bressler (Sr., Oak Harbor, WA/Oak Harbor HS) won the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:56.20 and Jacob Shafi (Sr., Pleasanton, CA/Amador Valley HS) was victorious in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal record time of 9:26.70.
In the men's discus, Lehndorff battled Whitworth's Corey Burt. The event matched up the past two NWC discus champions -- Lehndorff won in 2014 and Burt took first in 2015.
On Saturday, Burt recorded his top throw in the second round of prelims with a distance of 157' 4". Lehndorff advanced to the finals with a top preliminary throw of 141' 5".
During the second round of finals, Lehndorff sent the discus 151' 4", but still trailed Burt by six feet. With his final toss, Lehndorff launched the discus 158' 2" to regain the title and set a new personal record. His previous best mark was 151' 7" at the Willamette Invitational earlier this year.
Lehndorff moved into third place on Willamette's all-time list in the discus. His top mark on Saturday was the best discus throw by a Bearcat since 1963. Lehndorff is 17th on this year's NCAA Division III performance list.
For much of the women's 5,000, Ostrander was matched by Kellyn Roiko and Allison Wood of Whitworth. Eventually, Ostrander and Roiko were the two leaders. Over the final few laps, Ostrander held a comfortable advantage and went on to win in 17:32.92. She won by a closer margin of 5.79 seconds over Roiko, who took second in 17:38.71. Wood was third in 17:45.07.
The Willamette women's 4 x 100-meter relay team of Jewell Sparks (So., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS), Teneah Rushen (So., Portland, OR/Franklin HS), Maura Forbush (Jr., Hollister, CA/San Benito HS) and Kylea Johnson (Sr., Onalaska, WA/Onalaska HS) entered the NWC Championships with the fastest time in the NWC this season. They battled hard to keep the top time.
Willamette gained strength as the race progressed, but the Bearcats trailed the Pirates entering the final 100 meters. With 15 or 20 meters remaining, Whitworth's Gabrielle Gevers held a lead of about one foot over Johnson, who ran the anchor leg for the Bearcats. Johnson provided a strong finish and moved in front of Gevers by 0.07 as the race ended. Willamette took first place in 48.44 seconds, with Whitworth in second at 48.51.
Sparks, Rushen, Forbush and Johnson lowered their previous best time by 0.35 seconds from 48.79 at the Oregon Relays on April 16. They remain in second place on Willamette's all-time list.
In addition to winning the discus throw, Lehndorff placed second behind Burt in the shot put. Burt won the event with a throw of 57' 6". Lehndorff's top throw -- which moved him past the 50-foot mark for the first time -- landed at 52' 5.25". Lehndorff is now fifth on Willamette's all-time list in the shot put and is ranked 18th in NCAA Division III this year.
Johnson placed third in the women's 100-meter dash and was fourth in the women's 200-meter dash. In the 100-meter final, she earned a time of 12.73 seconds. In the 200, her time in the final was 25.89 seconds, just missing her personal best of 25.85. Forbush placed fifth in the 200 with a time of 26.04 seconds.
Forbush took second place in the women's 400-meter dash. She registered a personal record in the final, as she reached the finish line in 57.47 seconds. She advanced one spot to sixth on the Bearcats' all-time list. Her previous top time was 57.59 seconds at the Linfield Jenn Boyman Memorial Invitational earlier this year.
Also for Willamette, Hannah Swanson (So., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) recorded a second place finish in the women's 1,500-meter run. She completed the race in 4:36.11. Swanson was 0.74 behind the winner, Katie McKay from Whitworth.
Jack Kobylka (So., Napa, CA/Vintage HS) placed third for the Bearcats in the men's 1,500-meter run. His time was a personal record at 4:03.25. Patrick Loftus (So., Santa Rosa, CA/Sonoma Academy) was sixth in the 1,500 in 4:04.82.
In the men's 5,000-meter run, Yonny Castillo (Sr., Hood River, OR/Hood River Valley HS) of Willamette achieved third place with a time of 15:20.93. Freshman Keith Carlson (Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) took seventh in 15:46.54.
Sparks was fourth in the women's 400-meter hurdles. She registered a career-best time of 1:06.45.
Other Top Performances by the Bearcats
RoShaan Rogers (So., Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) set a personal record for the second time in as many days on his way to placing fourth in the men's 110-meter hurdles. His time in the final was 15.68. In the prelims on Friday, he earned a time of 15.72 seconds. Rogers placed seventh in the 400-meter hurdles in 58.72 seconds.
Parris Joyce (Sr., Portland, OR/Catlin Gabel School) took fifth place in the men's 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.94.
Jeremiah James (So./Fr., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC) was sixth in the men's triple jump. His top combined distance was 43' 1.50".
Angie Turpen (Jr., Alsea, OR/Alsea HS) placed seventh in the women's discus throw with a career-best mark of 120' 0". Her previous top distance was 119' 9" at the 2016 Willamette Opener.
Jack Wellman (So., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS) finished seventh in the men's 400-meter dash. He attained a personal record of 50.61 seconds, lowering his previous top mark of 50.66 at this year's Willamette Invitational.
Shafi, in addition to winning the men's steeplechase on Friday, placed eighth in the men's 1,500-meter run on Saturday. Kobylka placed eighth in the men's 800-meter run. Hazel Carr (Fr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) took eighth in the women's 1,500-meter run.
Whitworth won the women's team championship with a score of 216.5. George Fox University was second with 173 points. Linfield College was third with 97 points, and Willamette was fourth with 80 points. Pacific University took fifth at 72, University of Puget Sound was sixth at 71.5, Lewis & Clark Collega placed seventh at 56, and Pacific Lutheran University was eighth with 52 points.
The Pirates from Whitworth also claimed the men's team title with 187 points. George Fox placed second at 181.5. Linfield took third at 105.5, while Pacific Lutheran was fourth at 101 and Willamette was fifth at 79. Puget Sound followed in sixth place at 72, while Lewis & Clark was seventh at 63, and Pacific was eighth with 26 points.
Up Next for Willamette
The Bearcats will compete at the Oregon State High Performance on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 in Corvallis, Oregon.
NOTE: Willamette athletes who won events at the 2016 NWC Championships are pictured below. They are (L to R): Hannah Bressler, Jewell Sparks, Hans Lehndorff, Maura Forbush, Kylea Johnson, Taylor Ostrander, Teneah Rushen. Not pictured: Jacob Shafi.