Men dominate, women second at conference meet

Note:  Corrections were made to this story to correct statements about Dakota Kliamovich’s hammer throw records and the distance of Courtney Fairhart’s winning discus throw. The Whitworthian incorrectly reported that Kliamovich set personal, school and meet records. The winning throw was only a meet record. Kliamovich set personal and school records with a throw of 177’9” at the Sam Adams Classic. Fairhart’s winning throw distance was 143’4″, but was incorrectly reported as 133’4″ in the original article.

by James Silberman

The Pirate men were a step above the competition all weekend, winning a fifth consecutive track and field conference championship with 225 points. No other school finished with even half of the men’s score. The women’s team finished with 138 points, edging out Willamette for second place. The two squads combined for a league-best, with 10 individual conference champions.

Head coach Toby Schwarz was not surprised by the men’s success despite the shockingly large margin of victory.

“We won last year by 150,” Schwarz said. “We doubled up second, but no, it didn’t really surprise me.”

On Friday, the field teams won four events beginning with victories in both the men’s and women’s hammer throw. Senior Keegan Shea successfully defended his title with a toss of 190’ 9” and sophomore Dakota Kliamovich broke the conference championship meet record with a 173’ 7” mark.

Senior Peter Delap, also the winner of the decathlon, won the men’s high jump as well, clearing a personal best 6’ 6.25”. Delap would add more points later in the weekend with a fourth-place finish in the men’s pole vault and a sixth-place finish in the long jump.

At the conclusion of the meet, Delap was named the 2014 NWC Field Athlete of the Meet.

Senior Jonathan Hoff took first in the men’s long jump with a mark of 22’ 5.75”. Hoff defeated the runner-up by .5”.

The quartet of wins, aided by many other top finishes, gave the Whitworth men a sizable lead with 84 points, and had the women in second place with 48.5 after the first day of competition.

Saturday was similar to Friday for both squads as the men extended their lead on the rest of the teams while the women, despite a late run, were unable to catch George Fox.

More women’s records fell as sophomore Kerry Wright won her second javelin championship to set personal, school and meet bests with a throw of 156’2”.

“This season has been a lot of hard work but I persevered and got a big throw at conference,” Wright said.

Wright now has the top five throws in school history, but said she still has goals to achieve.

“Winning nationals is always the goal,” Wright said. “And I’m still trying to throw 160 feet.”

Hoff won a championship for the second-consecutive day, as he finished the men’s 110-meter hurdles in 14.90 seconds.

Sophomore Alex Hardlund claimed the men’s 400-meter hurdles championship crossing the finish line in 56.15 seconds, while freshman Elijah Varner ran a 58.41, good enough for third place.

Hardlund won a second championship as part of the men’s 4×400-meter relay team alongside sophomore Nicholas Gosselin, junior Matt Landon and senior Will Wren. The group won the event posting a 3:19.15.

“Almost everyone PR’d [personal record] and there were a lot of good performances as well as some unexpected things that also went well,” Hardlund said. “It was a really great weekend overall.”

Sophomore Courtney Fairhart won the women’s discus championship with a personal best throw of 143’4”.

Whitworth nearly swept the whole podium for the men’s pole vault as freshman Everett Kleven won the event clearing 15’ .25”, junior Joe Green posted a 14’ 6.25” mark, good enough for second, while Delap came in fourth.

Other top finishers from the weekend included junior Chase Wright and senior Tyler Coopman who took second and third in the men’s javelin. Gosselin was the runner-up in both the men’s 200-meter and 400-meter dash, freshman Lucas McGill took second in the high jump, junior Trent Dudley took third in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase, and sophomore Chris MacMurray took third in the men’s 800-meter.

Sophomore Mary Data finished second in the women’s shot put, sophomore Katie McKay finished third in the women’s 800-meter, and junior Emily Moore finished third in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.

Schwarz spoke highly of the women’s team’s performance.

“George Fox is really good and we weren’t that far away,” Schwarz said. “We battled all the way ‘til the end.”

To go along with his athletes’ success, Schwarz was given his eighth NWC Coach of the Year award.

“It’s a coaching staff, team and program award really,” Schwarz said. “As a coach, I just have to put athletes in the right place to be successful.”

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